Can unused guest accounts be removed?

+22 votes
When people create profiles, they are given a list of possible matches first. Those matches often include profiles without dates. If those profiles had dates, maybe they wouldn't come up as matches (but thats a different topic).

In clicking through to one of these, I found a very old guest account that had never been confirmed. It's not editable, the person never confirmed, but it comes up when creating new profiles for this rather common name.

Is there a 'bot that could go through and seek these out-- say,  older than a year-- and delete them?
WikiTree profile: John Howard
in WikiTree Tech by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (806k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
I concur.   This would be an excellent idea.

6 Answers

+13 votes

For those cases where there are no parents or other profiles connected, there have been no contributions and no activity for over a year and no DNA information, I agree.  Delete them.  IF there is any useful information than I think they should stay.
by Philip Smith G2G6 Pilot (301k points)
That sounds good to me, as long as it is limited to guest accounts and does not later get extended to family member accounts.

I have been trying to interest one of my sons and my three grandsons in working on the family profiles I have added here.  Two have accepted the invitation and their badges indicate "active family member" but the other two show "pending family member".  All four, however, have zero contributions.  I have added them all to the trusted lists of all family member profiles and hope that at least one of them will take over if anything happens to me.

Although they are all completely inactive now, I would not want to see their accounts deleted.
Check with the Greeters project ... we get volunteers from years ago (2012 recently, if I recall). Don't know if they've been lurking the whole time or just got to a point in their life where they could spend time in WikiTree.
+11 votes
As a Greeter, I do see occasions when guests who have been here for over a year with no activity come back and volunteer to be members. It doesn't happen every day, I admit, but it is not a rare occurrence. We really do need to consider whether or not it would be advisable to delete these Guest accounts.
by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (497k points)
+10 votes
Jillaine, I just had a guest account that I greeted in 2013 that just activated !
by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (960k points)
2013??!! Wow! Talk about waiting for awhile to decide to get on with it!
+4 votes

I can see the value in your suggestion if we add a few tweaks, Jillaine.

If such a policy were to be implemented, I would recommend we start with a longer period than one year, such as Guest accounts that haven't been accessed for 5 years or more. This would give us a better ability to assess the situation without disrupting more recent signups. We would eventually shorten the period if we determine this situation to be a problem.

After checking the Guest's log in activity, we would then need to send a couple of emails to determine if Guest's email account is still active; if the email account is active, we can then assess if the Guest is still interested in maintaining his/her account (either by his/her reply or lack of response after a reasonable wait period).

Another possible action, if technically feasible and cost efficient, would be to add the ability to exempt the Guest (and Family) accounts from the matches for new accounts.

Finally, we may want to consider a previous suggestion from another discussion of requiring yearly log in by all member levels to keep their accounts in active status.

by Lindy Jones G2G6 Pilot (227k points)

I should have started by saying we first need to agree on a clear definition for Unused Guest Account before we take any further action!

Is it possible that some Guests (as well as Family and full members) may be following their branches at WikiTree without even logging in to their accounts? We should assess all the possible variables before we set policy.

I think that unless a team member indicates willingness to implement something, trying to come up with a policy that is clear, coherent, and the result of a consensus being reached in G2G is no more than an exercise in flapping our gums.

Who do you mean by team member, Gaile?

Do you mean any WikiTree member or just the admin/tech members?

I mean the WikiTree team - the "management", if you will.

That (management; those who have to implement our crazy ideas!) is what I presumed you meant, Gaile.

So you feel that management doesn't listen to most of the concerns that we, the general membership, discuss here in G2G?

Perhaps we are not "flapping our gums" enough, then! If the issue is important enough, we need to let management know HOW important it is to us. But we first need to determine if the issue is, indeed, important to us.

I did not say that "management doesn't listen to most of the concerns ...".  I think my statement needs to stand on its own without any elaboration that might not be taken as representative of the proper WikiTree spirit - sorry.
No apology from you is necessary, Gaile!

However, I do apologize for misspeaking for you!!

I do disagree with your statement, though. I've seen several new policies, clarifications, features, and general improvements implemented since I joined. We just need to make it clear to management that our ideas will benefit general membership and WikiTree.

Constant gum-flapping is necessary to push improvements forward.
No problem, Lindy.  It's just that I am trying to be very careful how I word things in order to not step over any lines that may exist.  This is very difficult for me - my normal style is to simply and directly say what I mean (and I take great pride in always meaning what I say).
+6 votes
Many companies delete profiles that have been inactive after a certain amount of time and people have to reregister.  I have had this happen on a few of my accounts.  I am actually relieved because sometimes I don't remember which accounts I have out there.

If the member hasn't even confirmed the account and/or has been 100% inactive (no added family), I don't see why we can't delete the account after a certain amount of time causing the member to reregister.  This way, their account will have their newest email address and we will clean up some of our profiles just sitting there like rocks.
by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (895k points)
+2 votes
As Maggie pointed out, some of those old guest profiles do eventually join the rest of the way-in fact you'd be surprised how often I come across accounts where the person came on as a guest and took a few years to decide this was the place for them.

In part of what I work on as a Team member, I end up removing many of them, as they have indicated after us making contact that they have no interest in the site any longer. It's just a lengthy process because sometimes they just aren't sure. Or, as Gaile pointed out, they were invited but haven't completed the process (not actual guests in that case, but pending members).
by Abby Glann G2G6 Pilot (534k points)

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