WikiTree Spring Cleaning Day?

+34 votes
Recently there have been several posts on topics that in my mind come back to a thought that we the WikiTree Community might have fun working together to do some spring cleaning of profiles.    

To do this we could pick a day or a weekend or a month and ask all PMs to run their error report and work on cleaning up errors in profiles they manage.  

We could also identify profiles that are locked that maybe should be unlocked and aks our IT backbone staff to please help us by unlocking them so data doctors can get in and do some badly needed fixes.   

Just putting this out there as an idea that maybe it would take the stress out if we tackled this as an event and helped each other give our profiles a fresh look.   

We can discuss here how best to do something like this if you even think it is a good idea.  

My thinking is, if we can get 10% of current errors fixed that is a huge dent in the over all number.  If we can get 25% I think there are data doctors who will be dancing.  I would be singing at 50% and well, you get the idea...  

Can we all pitch in like a good family and do some much needed spring cleaning?
asked in The Tree House by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (448k points)
retagged by Dorothy Barry
What a good idea Laura!
I agree, Brett. Great idea, Laura!
Laura, we love this idea!  We think it would be a fun annual event to balance out the Source-a-Thon in the fall.  Do you mind if we run with it?
Great idea, Laura!  I think this would be a fun annual event.
I am happy to let anyone who wants to move it along do so.  

Let me know what I can do to help.
I like this idea also Laura!

4 Answers

+12 votes
I like this idea.  I would like to suggest that the focus is narrow.  Maybe specific areas of the error report?  What if one day is for spelling errors?  Another day (or maybe a week) for Died before married, Died before born errors?  I think there is an error for Blank profiles -- what about a day working on those?
answered by Kathy Zipperer G2G6 Pilot (212k points)
Yes I think that makes sense for anyone with a lot of errors.  We don't want this to be a daunting task.  But something we can do together and feel like we are all pitching in.

Laura can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe she was talking about running the error report on just your own watchlist ???  I think? :-)

Then, we could work on it in a style that appeals to each of us.
Julie yes my idea is everyone runs their own error report.  And works on it.

If you are clean, then, you could run the project one and pitch in to help others... especially if they are profiles that are open for adoption or something that has been on the error list a long time.  You can tell the ones that are open because they do not have a PM ID filled in.  

I kind of see this as a pitch in and help event.  If you have no errors great then see if you can tackle something that is obviously not being maintained.  

I don't want it to become over burdensome but just get everyone looking for things that need some shoring up or fixing.  

One biggie is that a change was made some time ago that now a birth date is required.  There are over 32K profiles as of last week that did not have a birth date showing.  Now this does not have to be an exact date it can be something like after 1800 or after 1850.  Or before 1900.  

But if we can at least point to the century it is better than what we have now.  Often you can get it within 20 to 30 years by looking at the people they are connected to...  IF they are connected to anyone.  

I see profiles where the birth or marriage data is in the notes and not in the fields.  I contact the PM first because I do not know if those notes are real or not and I want to give the PM a chance to fix their own profiles.  

I could take all my spreadsheets that I use to do the 901 error and look to see which ones were not fixed since January and if they open go in and work on them.   But I do want to give PMs the chance to do their thing.  

I lost both of my parents within 2 months of each other and my life was a mess for two years.. first in dropping everything to take care of them as they declined and then in handling all the things I had to do as a result of their deaths.  There is no way I could have done what I am doing now in those two years.  I get that people's lives change and sometimes they appreciate a helping hand.  So I see this event as a little of that too...

I get that people's lives change and sometimes they appreciate a helping hand.  So I see this event as a little of that too...

That's a lovely thought, Laura. :-)

I'm so glad you checked up on me, Julie. I realized Laura was talking about individuals working on their own.  I wouldn't want to exclude anyone.  I was trying to come up with some thoughts about how to keep this idea from being "daunting" as Laura said.  Just writing and thinking.  I do like your idea, Laura, about working on those profiles that have no birth dates if the pm doesn't have their own errors to fix.

And Laura, my sincere condolences.  As a caregiver myself, two years is an eternity and not any time at all.
Kathy,  I am so glad I was able to be there for my parents.  My Dad told me the day he died how thankful he was and that he did not know what more we could have done for him.  I will forever remember that.  I am sending you prayers and warm thoughts.  It is hard to be a care giver.  But looking back I am glad I did it.  Thanks for the nice note!
And Julie!  Congratulations on being a new team member!  Awesome!

Thank you, Kathy!!

My heart goes out to both of you in re: to your caregiver status ... it's a hard job, and you put it perfectly: "an eternity and not any time at all"

I had unexpected out of town company come in this week.  It is so much fun to see relatives who discovered they could come to town for the weekend.  We had everyone over who was in-town for pizza and salad and lots of different desserts to see my sister in law who surprised us by being able to be here this weekend for my daughter in laws baby shower.   What fun.  Everyone just left so I am now getting back to emails.  

Obviously genealogy is all about families and the people on this site are going to be very family oriented.  It is why we do genealogy.. not just for ourselves but for our children and grandchildren.  I will have two lovely granddaughters soon. The 4 year old is helping me with the games for the baby shower.  She likes to take photos of the various family members and asks now how does so and so fit in?  So I lay out the photos of who are brothers and sisters.  Who are cousins.  Who are Moms / Dads, and grandparents and she gets an idea of where she fits in to the family.  

So thank you to everyone who has responded to the idea of doing spring cleaning and for sending heartfelt support for those who are care givers past and present.  This is a site of very wonderful people.  I like being here.
+4 votes

Good idea

Why not also email out the error list?

  1. I guess that percentage of active members could be higher
  2. How many of active members use the error reporting
    1. or checking errors on your own watchlist
  3. How many users has found the menu option Database error and understand what its about?

    We have 70+ menu options  
answered by C S G2G6 Pilot (268k points)
Hi Magnus,  I think we could post the link to the current error report as part of the spring cleaning date announcement.  That could take people to the db_error site and I would think we would also give instructions on how PMs can run the 2 error reports from the watchlist and then the one that covers the PMs profile.  I don't know if we would need to email out the list if we post it.  Is there a mass email capability in WikiTree?  

I have no idea how many active PMs there are.  Is there a way to quantify logins?  

Is there a way to count the number of unique Ids that access their error report?

I like the idea of several seasoned data doctors kind of being available during the spring cleaning exercise to answer questions or help with questions that might arise from the event.  

Heading to bed now.  It is almost just after 2:30 am where I am.

>> I don't know if we would need to email out the list if we post it.  Is there a mass email capability in WikiTree?  

Yes WIkiTree sends sometimes out emails but the load on Aleš server was rather high then so maybe WikiTree need to send it over some days...

I have no idea how many active PMs there are.  Is there a way to quantify logins?  
Chris has that data. I feel a lot of people use WikiTree and then its something they don't like or have other priorities in life . I have suggested that we should use Polls to understand the users better see my Bold or Polite

Is there a way to count the number of unique Ids that access their error report? 

  • I guess Ales can count unique IP addresses
  • I guess Chris can count number of times the Watchlist error list is accessed
Laura, According to the posts on this question  there are about 2000 members who earn either the 100 or 1000 badge each month. That is out or over 400,000 who WikiTree counts as members. I do not see how adding your email is going to increase the number of those who do the work above the .005% mark it stands at, in fact it may drive away those who are already working to improve the site and by doing that actually make things worse.  Any time you send out mass mailings as you propose you run the risk of those emails being marked as spam and that is never good.
There is daily summary of changes in followed tags (Wiki Genealogy Feed).

There is weekly newsletter going out each week (WikiTree Family News). I think it was monthy before.

There is also a blog, that is sent by email to users (WikiTree Blog).

Chris puts a link to error report in the email once a month.

The problem on server load is solved so it is no longer such a problem. It was back in june last year.

About the numbers, as I understand this emails go out to ten's of thousands users. Depending on user's preferences.

Tracking the numbers of users checking DB Errors can't be exact without use of cookies, and I don't want to use them.

Number of requests on my server are:

Errors by Tree: 300-400 / day

Errors by Manager 50-100 / day

Errors by Name 30-50 / day

Errors by Location 10 / day

Temp Hide 100-200 / day

False error 200-300 / day

Compare tree 20-30 / day

I might add graphs for these numbers.
@Dale it's 0,5% active members - feels better than I expected...

Do we have a best guess why people are not more active and how to activate people?

I guess Project Database Error has activated some people...
Magnus, Still a very small number. and adding more requirements as you want to do will not encourage more to become more active, I believe that the result of that will encourage more to stop working so unless that is what you want it is the wrong way to go. From what I have seen posted on G2G the Project Database Error has inflated the number I used because there are some who see that as a way to inflate their numbers without actually doing much research, and that is based on their statements about using the project to earn "easy" contributions.
Actually Magnus you and your suggestions have caused me to become less active on here and move my work to another site, so you could say that your ideas are causing a loss in the number of active users. I am moving on to more productive uses of my time now and as such I will no longer comment on this thread.

@Dale please be more specific what problems you see...

People like you Dale fascinates me to spend time on WikiTree to understand if a crowd sourced community doing genealogy will produce something useful... 

Issues/possibilities I see with WikiTree

  1. easier to use 
    1. GEDCOM should not produce something no one understand. Better hide all the yada yada in a GEDCOM tab and just create something that is readable. If someone would like to use the yada yada its under the GEDCOM tab
    2. if possible upgrade to later version of Wikimedia so Visual Editor can be used... todays wiki syntax is not easy
  2. add better genealogy resources inside WikiTree
    1. We have now 2500 Swedish parishes defined
    2. 400 pages with good links that make genealogy easier for people not used to Swedish genealogy
    3. we have also many death reasons and old terms as Categories with links 
  3. add support for doing good genealogy ==> I would like to see a Research plan as a tab ==> so people can say this is the the purpose of this profile and this is what I have done please help me
  4. add specific database errors for genealogy problems like patronymics ==> better quality of the data see error 911 and 912 that other people has created
  5. and many other things like on the fly time line using Histropedia, query engine, more fields for structure of locations and events but then I think WikiTree need to move to the Wikidata platform... 
Why people are active vs why people may add trees and sit back.  

That is a very good question that will not be resolved by data numbers because the answer is likely emotionally based.  

People are active when they like something and they feel included and accepted in most organizations.  

People are inactive for a lot of reasons that may or may not directly reflect on the organization and these things include:

1.  change in personal status (this can be due to illness, new job, new baby, new interest)

2.  their intent was to enter their tree data but they are not into doing more than that.  They want to contribute but are not into maintaining or helping others.  

3.  they have died.  I think there are a high percentage of people who get into genealogy later in life.  I know I started in my 40s because my children were old enough I had time to do more things and I was in an age group where you start seeing older family members start to die and you start thinking about the loss of their wisdom, stories, and presence in your life.  

4.  Specific to this site, they are free form thinkers and find the structure too difficult to navigate and just want to enter their data the way they like it.  This group will not be amiable to any use of error reporting because they do no want someone to tell them they are wrong.   It is not a matter of being right or wrong as much as it is trying to conform to a data model and that may be something that is uncomfortable for free thinkers.  

I do not know how you would quantify any of the above without some kind of survey which people may or may not want to take.  

I think constant emails can be an intrusion but an email once a year or once every few months is not a big deal for most people.  

I think to get people active we have to understand what drives people to be interested in genealogy and I think it is a number of things today

1.  Love of family and wanting to honor them

2.  Curiousity about where you come from some of which may have been stirred by recent TV shows featuring genealogy

I think are 2 big ones.


I do not know how you would quantify any of the above without some kind of survey which people may or may not want to take.  

You ask open-ended questions and read the answers see the comments in the end of the poll Bold or Polite

A pull is not perfect but better than guessing...

I also guess that if people should answer the above pull today we will get other answers as we now have more experience how Project Database Error works...

Magnus I was agreeing with you, that polls are useful and yes asking open ended questions generally gets you more responses.  

I am not adverse to polls.  I did review your poll on Bold vs Polite.  

From reading the answers I think it is obvious that there is NOT a consensus about which takes precedence.  

I take it to logic...  if the primary goal of WikiTree is to get good collaboration you do not get that by forcing people to accept changes to profiles they have entered without being consulted.  That just makes them mad because I believe most users here still have some idea of ownership of the data whether they signed the pledge or not.  It is kind of common practice that people feel ownership of things they provide on genealogy sites.   For me you can have the best of both worlds.  That is why some things I think require a PM to change the while other parts of the data entry is open for change.  I do not think most people are going to get upset by someone changing a spelling error of a location vs someone who changes the spelling of a name.  Common sense would dictate that it makes sense to notify a PM of any changes to a profile.  If you have a system where the PM has say 30 day to respond and does not respond then the change goes in I think your are safe.  Because clearly that person was someone who is into dumping data in but not maintaining it.  30 days allows for people to be away on a 2 week vacation plus some...  It allows for illness and other things that may get in the way from just daily life.  

If maintenance becomes too much of a chore it will drive people away.  But it does not mean it is not necessary to do the maintenance.  So if you have a radio button at point of entry that asks:

1.  Do you want to be included in any maintenance and changes needed on this profile yes   or no

2.  If yes then changes get forwarded to the email they are then asked to enter if they said yes

3.  If no, then data doctors or others can feel free to do what is needed and the profile cannot be locked but must be open at least to data doctors.  

That is my thinking...
I agree with Laura. And would like to add one thing about being a data doctor. Data doctors look through hundreds of unconnected, empty profiles each week, they send lists to those above them to have useless profiles deleted; only to find those same profiles on the 901's data base 3 and 4 weeks later!

If those above the data doctors are too busy to handle these deletions; maybe the data doctors should do the deletions instead of relying on some one else.

Yes, the data doctors should be able to see the information behind the privacy screen, to better determine if a profile is valid.
Loretta taught me how to do what I am doing.  I was new and happy to help but had no idea HOW to do that.  She took me under her wing and helped me start looking at the profiles to figure out which ones were ok vs which ones needed lots of work.  Thanks Loretta!
And look at you, soaring to new levels! You are a joy to work with, always inspiring me to go further.
+3 votes

I like the concept of using a Webhangout that was done with the Aleš interview maybe that could be something for WikiTree Spring Cleaning Day?

As an user I can ask questions in YouTube and its easy to share screen....

One problem is that the comments you add during the live sessions seems to disappear?!?!
answered by C S G2G6 Pilot (268k points)
+4 votes
Sounds like a great idea. I hope the percentages Laura refers to are the errors on individual's list. At last run, my list had 622. Some are easy fixes, some difficult. Even if the only participants are Data Doctors, a 20-30% reduction in individual errors would put a dent in the WT error list. Let's make the battle cry "Correct On".
answered by Bob Keniston G2G6 Pilot (161k points)

If there are 2000 active members and 1000 participate, if each one can do say 50 errors (that takes me about an hour) that is 50,000 errors fixed.  

If can get more that is great.  I think there are people who will want to help if we can make it easy for them.  

Sometimes the IT side can be very intimidating to some people who are not IT comfortable / proficient.  I think of myself more as dangerous than proficient!   

Anyway, it is ok if a mistake gets made, we have data doctors on call to help you fix it.  Kind of theme...  you are not alone out there ...

I really see this is both a teaching opportunity and a team building exercise that helps draw the community closer together.  

I used to teach adults how to use company proprietary software.  These were highly intelligent project managers but not IT experts and some were very unsure of themselves in the beginning.  So we spent time demystifying the IT so it became another tool they were comfortable using.  For me the IT side of WikiTree is a great tool and like any tool you may need some very basic language instruction.  Not all WikiTreers are going to know how to code.  I sure don't.  But that does not stop me from data entry or running the error report and trying to fix errors listed or from learning.  Heck, if I don't make at least one mistake every day, I have not learned something that day... that is my motto and I live by that.  Mistakes are ok if you learn from them and they are not mistakes that hurt someone.  

I don't think we have 1000 Data Docs (I'm one). To get that many people on board, you need something on the scale of Source-A-Thon. Regardless of the numbers any concentrated effort would be of tremendous value.
We're going to try and get it to the scale of the Source-A-Thon!
Repair-A-Thon? Fix-A-Thon?
Spring Clean-A-Thon?
I like it. Start March 20th? FYI, spring is already here in North Mississippi.
Oh yeah, 1st day of spring might be good.  We want to have enough time to get it set up, announced, promoted, etc.
Fixing Errors is a good thing. Encouraging people to do it quickly by saying "I can do 50 in an hour", or one every 72 seconds, is encouraging poor research and sloppy work and that is not a good thing.
You might get 50 corrections in an hour for some of the errors, but most require some research, and verification. You might get 50 in a day or two doing it right.
You are both of course right, I should have been more specific.  The errors I am doing are to see if there is any data filed in fields or in the bio / sources other than gedcom non genie related upload data.  It is not the research kind...   Or I have had some fix a typo.  Those are the ones that I can do more quickly.   Yes, language and complete explanations are better than short cut responses.  Thanks for catching me on that!

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