Anonymous profiles

+9 votes
260 views
I stumbled upon profiles by a manager called Anonymous Anonymous and most of the profiles he/she manages are called Anonymous Anonymous.

Clearly it seems the manager is someone who never wanted to participate in building a common tree. Instead of closing the account he/she just left a big bunch anonymous profiles of which some have info in the bio that might suggest that a few might belong to living persons.

Do I have to file an MIR to get a leader to check this? I'm not actually very upset, I just think someone more experienced should take a look at this and decide what should be done. Since they have a manager, Anonymous Anonymous, I guess a recycle template should not be added to them?
WikiTree profile:
in Policy and Style by Maggie Andersson G2G6 Pilot (115k points)
Good find, Maggie!

This looks like a set of profiles that has been deliberately vandalized by removal of all family connections and data, as well as names by someone who has been inactive for a couple of years.

Someone at a higher pay grade than mine should determine whether the member's account should be closed and the profiles should be reconstructed.  All the information to do that is in the change logs.
As a Data Doctor you sometimes stumble upon profiles you never normally would have found...

Doing a search for a name and trying to connect a profile leads you astray as you check somethings else in the search results that hooks up into something else and you are even further away from what you started investigate...

4 Answers

+9 votes
If you check the changes tab, you can see all the changes that were made to that profile.  My guess is that they were frustrated about being unable to delete the profiles they'd created, so they made them all anonymous.  I changed one of these back to the original once, and ended up creating a duplicate that had to be merged away.  It also took more time than I should have wasted on the project.
by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (200k points)

Not on this lot... 

If I check the changes tab I can see they have merged a profile called Schweers-5 into Anonymous Anonymous-1346. But no information seems to be transferred so I guess Schweers-5 has been wiped clean of info first, then merged into a profile called Anonymous so the Schweer name would be erased.

But you can still get to the information on Schweers-5 - it is a link in that change log and will show the change log for the original profile before the merge.

J is right - it will be a LOT of work to restore these profiles if that is the decision that is made.
You can ferret out the name of the GEDCOM.

https://www.wikitree.com/genealogy/Keller-Family-Tree-1776

I don't think there was a lot of info there to begin with. Names and parent-child relations.
I saw that, Eva.  It means that the gedcom is still here, although only the team can access it.

I have not spent time looking at either the contribution list or enough of the profiles to know if any additional information was added to any of the profiles after the gedcom import, so it is possible that some had been improved ... I would agree that's not likely, though.
Those of us who have looked at the history know that the linked profile used to be a man named Tom Schweers, but it had no dates (it was created in 2013, before dates were required) or locations. Tom apparently was related to https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Schweers-4 -- a profile that still has a name and has a location.

We also know the name of the member who changed the profile and renamed himself to Anonymous Anonymous.

It seems to me that the Team should take care of opening up these profiles so the names, and any other details that once were here, can be restored by another volunteer. And it appears the member wanted his account to be closed, so his wish should be granted.
Schweers-4 has some strange information.  He was married in 2005, but has two children who were born in 1984 and 1989.  There are definitely privacy issues in this tree, and they're more serious in the ones who were not changed to Anonymous with info deleted.

I so admire the gracious words you found to suggest a solution, Ellen.  Tact just ain't my strong suit - every time I open my yap, I tend to get chastised.
The team would be happy to look into this now that we are aware of it. Thanks Ellen!
@ Eowyn

If someone finds stuff like this what is the proper way to make the team aware of it?? Is MIR the only way? Should one use the info mailadress? I tagged the question with "leaders" is there another tag that would get the team to check it out?

As Gaile pointed out below (and I totally had forgotten) I asked about another Anonymous family before but never got any advise of the proper way of handling finds like this. https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/443529/what-to-do-with-family-of-anonymous-x-anonymous

I really would like to know how to report findings like this. This time it came to your awareness somehow but the other post I made earlier don't seem to be noticed. Data Doctors like me are making the tree more accurate, error by error, but stuff like this are never found unless you happen to stumble upon them. So what do we do about them if we find this kind of "big errors"?
Hi Maggie, any time you come across a situation you aren't sure how to handle we suggest you go through the steps here: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Problems_with_Members. Walking through the steps will usually lead you to the best course of action. If you still aren't sure what to do but you think the team needs to be aware, you can always email info@ and bring a situation to our attention.  We may still ask you to do a MIR if we feel it's needed.  Ellen emailed info@ and asked us to look at this G2G post. That's how I became aware of it.
+4 votes
I've been thinking (which my husband considers a very dangerous activity).

I see that you also found another Anonymous mess a couple of weeks ago and from the answers to that question, it appears no consensus was ever reached about the best course of action for them.

It seems to me that there is too little interest in making a decision - let alone doing anything about it - to resolve data destruction problems to make even discovering and documenting them a worthwhile activity ... jus' sayin'
by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (788k points)
+2 votes
I am wondering if it would be helpful for branches or stray profiles like these to create a {{Recycle Bin}} template, which would add a [[Category:Recycle Bin]] to any such profile.

Then, if people are wanting to make a new profile or branch, they could simply browse the Recycle Bin to find a reasonable one to take over for their own purpose.

Or alternatively, if somebody wants to put the time and effort into restoring any promising branch from Recycle Bin, they would be free to try.

They would be easy to find. Only one profile in the entire branch would require a template, for the whole branch to be found in the category.
by Steven Mix G2G6 Mach 4 (40.7k points)
Usually, with these, Steven there is information in the changes tab or that admin can see that can be recovered.  It has been recommended in the past not to recycle these because they are often profiles of actual people.

There are people who work to restore the profiles if they do contain information (I believe it is the admins).
+5 votes
With over 900 profiles with the last name of Anonymous, this is not an isolated issue    https://www.wikitree.com/genealogy/Anonymous
by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (656k points)
I have to wonder how many Anonymous LNAB's are WikiTree members, though, which I believe is not permitted ... or is it only unlisted privacy that is not permitted for members and Anonymous LNAB's are only discouraged?
Individuals with Unlisted privacy are not allowed to be full members of WikiTree. In the interest of those who wish additional privacy, they are allowed to use Anonymous for either first or last name.
THANX, Shirley!

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