If we have a group of volunteers to "Clean up" profile Bio's and merge duplicates, what would be standard?

+22 votes

This is a springboard off two other questions:

Comments by Erin Breen on this question:


A springboard from the comments to ask this question:


If we took on such a project, what would be smart to take out?


For example, I always take out the "created by gedcom", the multiple "John smith was born 1624.... add more" bio starters, ancestry tree sources, etc


A HUGE thorn in my side that I am always afraid of is biography merging... most of the longer bios are probably just cut and pasted from somewhere else, but some are clearly not. It isnt good to have 4 paragraphs including "John Smith was born 1624 and married Jane Smith in 1640, though"...


One thing I HATE to delete, so I leave... are the ancestry/geni image/document type links... but the problem is that no one can usually access them but members of these sites... in theory they need to go away, and it would be nice to be able to link to something that could actually link for all... or retrieve the images/document info, etc... depending on copyright, etc


I know there are a ton more aspects but wanted to throw out a few of the basics and see what anyone has to add.




in Policy and Style by Lindsay Tyrie G2G6 Mach 1 (18.4k points)
retagged by Keith Hathaway
Humphrey, why don't you think we could develop a standard for bios?

I do not think I could develop a meaningful standardized bio for "my" ancestors, so I cannot recommend it for others.

I'm thinking here of pretty basic elements such as:

  1. Origins
  2. Early life
  3. Legacy
  4. Family

There are variations of this here and on Wikipedia, on WeRelate. 

And if information is limited to an obit, there's always the generic "Biography"
I would also agree. No standard. Especially the one WeRelate uses.  The deleting of information to follow a set standard is not acceptable.
The variation that we have here looks as if we copied from WeRelate. This is also being promoted to destroy the valued contributions of wikitree members and the credit they deserve.
I am not at all proposing that we delete valuable information provided by contributors. I'm suggesting a consistent look and feel that would guide and encourage clean up of profiles, particularly the post merge HSA profiles and that would also make profile narratives easier to read. I'm not attached to using the format used at WeRelate.  I've used variations of that in the absence of any standard here because I think they do a good job of making profiles readable.

Wiki Genealogy Honor Code.

  1. We give credit. Although most genealogy isn't copyrighted, researchers deserve credit for the work they've done.

This would include wikitree contributors. It is time to stop the deliberate removal of credit due to Wikitree contributors.

You could assist, stop all of these projects until such time as a standard for credit due is found.

This is getting a little off topic here, since this thread is about bios, not crediting contributions, but:

  1. Creating a duplicate with practically no information or sources in it is not "work" that we should be crediting. It's detrimental to the site's goals. So why should we leave all those bits about who imported what GEDCOM?
  2. Since we didn't even have an acknowledgments section until, what, a few months ago? I don't think the honour code really had that in mind. The history of a page shows who contributed what, and if you're using someone's work as a source, then they should be cited as a source. But that's different from giving someone credit just for uploading a GEDCOM that didn't really contribute much except more work for people who merge duplicates. That's what we've been removing; I've yet to see anyone remove credit for someone who's actually contributed sources, or written a nice bio, or something valuable like that.
Thanks for posting that question.  Really useful to people like me who are so afraid to delete from a profile that I dont manage that the most I usually do is edit the duplicate people like wives, siblings, children, etc., that get transferred over when two profiles are merged.  In a perfect world, Wikitree would spot the duplicates and take care of them for us (just kidding)! I am sure others, especially the newer members might find editing a biography a bit daunting.  I know I did and I had to just jump in and hope for the best.  I can't expect others to keep on fixing up my messes!  So, anyway, Thanks for asking.  Im sure there are lots out there that feel the same way you do.  Cheers! Lee, the MysticBrit.

3 Answers

+8 votes
Best answer
Erin and I have started a project for this! The whole projects thing is brand new so not many people know about it yet, but we've started two projects and one of them is called Project:Profile Improvement. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Project:Profile_Improvement

As we write standards and perfect profiles that can be used as examples, all that stuff will be linked to there. Feel free to add your name to the list of participants! The idea is to bring together the kind of people who will try to improve the biographies, even on profiles that aren't their own, thus making WikiTree as a whole better. :)
by Lianne Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (428k points)
selected by Marty Acks
Whats the other Project? Can we get a Project G2G category for this one and the other? I wish we had better communication on WikiTree... like a WikiTree bulletin board when you first log in for important changes...
The other one is Project:Categorization. http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Project:Categorization

We could make G2G categories for those. Projects also have talk pages, which is something wikis normally have that we're trying out. So conversations can happen there, too.
I had to jump into the fray on that one (categories, that is)!  Thanks for heading it up.
I am interested in helping clean up profiles.  I am actively working on merging and cleaning up profiles of Mayflower Passengers Bradford, Fuller and Warren and the first few generations of their descendants. Would like to be a member of a profile improvement group so that I can make these profiles up to standard.
Yay! You can just edit the project page to add your name to the list.

There'll be more on the group soon. I want to write some style guides for profiles. Any ideas? Also, I'd love some examples of really awesome profiles to link to, to give us some inspiration. :)
I do like this idea, but some it seems that some of the "mess" come in with an uploaded GEDCOM.  I know I have lots of notes on my and haven't finished fixing all of them since there doesn't seem to be a standard here.

I know that with different softwares there are standards but I'd like to see what they are here so that I can make my sources appear correctly.  I think it's important if there are books that the infomation came from to make note so that others can see.
Hi Sue. We don't really have a standard in terms of the format of sources. The important thing is that it's clear where you got the information, and it's possible for others to find it. I think it would be impossible to enforce any standard on format.
I, too, remove a lot of the same stuff, Lindsay. It is overwhelming to sift through only to find there were no sources listed on any of the profiles merged. Working on profiles for the Mayflower group, I run into this a lot, as well as the cut and paste bios. I am more than willing to help with this project, and have enjoyed the little bit I have tried to help with in the Mayflower profiles.
+2 votes
How about some kind of warning notice on the home pages indicating which surnames are about to be merged ahead of time?  That way people will have an IDEA that this is going to happen, or has recently happened on surname:xxxxxx and won't be surprised by sudden changes in data!
This sound nice, but it might be hard to implement as the people doing it will probably not be the ones to update a notice... and when you are merging profiles you end up merging spouses/mothers etc so sometimes you dont even know you are going to till you are doing it... and the list would end up quite long the more users who are actively helping. That is why the watchlist is there.
+10 votes
I Just went through this very thing with my first merge, Personally I have entered everybody in my tree Manually... Yes it took a long time but was worth it. I might not have the best sources... but the sources I do have are trees of distant cousins that can be viewed.

 I don't like the Gedcoms they mess up the whole profile, In my opinion if you cannot view the source it is not really a source. The whole point of a source for research purposes is to actually help other researchers later verify the information.

Yes there are some old books out there that not everyone has access to but.. usually if you search hard enough or really look you may find them in an Hermetic library :)

 I am really new here the promblem I see with Gedcoms what ever they are ;)

Is they are 1) Messy and ugly 2) No real sources 3) Alot of the people that upload a bunch of these do not come back and fix the Mess. I understand they save the person uploading them time but cost time eventually.  When I first got here I didnt know that I should scroll down to see the gedcom, I  thought the profile just had a name and that is it.

In my opinion No source is about the same as these ancestry links that you can't view... Plus it is alot cleaner. Now that said if the sources actually lead somewhere that you can view it is a source.
by Martin Humphrey G2G1 (1.5k points)
I so agree with you Martin!
Thanks for bring this to my attention !
I do agree fully with Martin's conclusion. All my entries have been done one by one, in an attempt to have a clean, clear biography or none at all. But it takes time to do a neat job and some poeple are in too much of a hurry.

Gedcoms leave a mess and require a lot of time to clean them up after merges; had they been entered indidually, no such clean up would be necessary and we would not have to search for solutions.

Perhaps should they be forbiden, just downloads allowed?

Related questions

+38 votes
2 answers
+4 votes
2 answers
215 views asked Aug 9, 2017 in WikiTree Tech by Theresa Myers G2G6 Mach 1 (13.8k points)
+21 votes
0 answers
+29 votes
17 answers
907 views asked Jun 15, 2019 in The Tree House by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (389k points)
+11 votes
7 answers

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright