What do you think of these possible changes to G2G categories?

+20 votes

Hi WikiTreers,

We're thinking about making some changes to the categories here in G2G.

Tags are the primary organizational method. They do the narrow categorization. The categories are a higher level of organization. As I see them, their main purpose is to enable some members to browse the posts that are likely to interest them.

For example, if you're interested in helping others with their genealogy, browse "Requests for Genealogy Help." If you've got technical skills and are experienced with how WikiTree works, share your expertise in "WikiTree Tech." If you're just looking to waste a few minutes, chat, or catch up with what's going on around WikiTree, go to "The Tree House."

What that in mind, here are three possible changes:

1.) Add a new category called "WikiTree Love." The Wonderful WikiTreer and shared photo posts would automatically be placed in this new category, instead of in the Tree House.

2.) Change the name of "Policy and Style" to ...

  • Advanced WikiTreeing
  • Not for Newts
  • Pre-1700 and PPP
  • ... or something else?

This category is mainly for advanced project stuff. I'm not sure of the best way to communicate that.

3.) Eliminate the "Requests for Project Volunteers" category. Consolidate it into The Tree House.

Do you have thoughts? G2G Moderators and regulars, I'd especially like to hear your opinions before we make any changes.



in The Tree House by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)


After collecting feedback, here's the new plan:

1.) Add a new category called "Appreciation" just for the Wonderful WikiTreers and similar posts.

2.) Add a new category called "Photos" just for shared photos.

3.) Add a new category called "WikiTree Help" for basic questions about using WikiTree that may or may not be technical enough to belong in WikiTree Tech.

We wouldn't be changing the name of "Policy & Style" or removing "Requests for Project Volunteers."

Any last comments before we make the changes?




17 Answers

+12 votes
Best answer

I'd definitely like two new categories to be created:

  1. WikiTree Love -- to include Wonderful Wikitreers and other messages of congratulations and thanks
  2. Photo Sharing

I think those are needed because they are popular topics that people may want to see "all in one place" and because their popularity is making it hard to keep up with the feed for the Tree House category (discussions in that category often scroll off the first page in 8 hours or so).

I think "Requests for Project Volunteers" has an important purpose, but members often fail to recognize that purpose. The category  gets a lot of posts from people looking for genealogy help. Since most of the discussions that are appropriate to the category are "Do you want to join the XYZ project?", I suggest renaming it to "Project Bulletin Boards" to communicate that its main purpose is to encourage people to sign up for projects. Keeping those project discussions in a G2G category that does not generate lots of new questions is appropriate because it makes the project items easier to find. Discussion threads for continuing Challenges also could be placed in this category.

I'd keep the name "Policy and Style", since fairly sophisticated questions on those topics aren't necessarily limited to advanced users.

Consider creating a new category called "WikiTree Basics" to capture the many basic questions about using WikiTree that typically get scattered around "Requests for Genealogy Help," "WikiTree Tech," and "Policy and Style."  Ideally there would be a "sticky" post at the top of this category with a short list of links to FAQs on topics like Editing family relationships, Working with Gedcoms, and Adding DNA information to WikiTree.

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
selected by Kristina Adams
What does the category "Photo Sharing" entail? Unless I've missed something this is new to me ... how does / would that work ...? I love the idea of "WikiTree Basics".

@Philip: A major area of activity in The Tree House is people sharing photos of their ancestors and relatives. I believe this is related to the Photo of the Week competition. I've counted as many as 16 photo threads at one time among the top 50 threads in the Tree House feed.

Your question leads me to reflect that "Photo Sharing" might not be the best name for the new category I'd like to see, since people might think that it's for questions about how to add photos to profiles. Maybe "Photo Gallery" would convey the purpose better.

Oh ok. Yes indeed, changing it to "Photo Gallery" makes it a little more clear, though sitll ... it needs futher explaining. I was a member of the Photo of the Week voting or something a few years time ago. I resigned my badge because though I am passionate about photo's, and especially old one's with social historical relevance, I raelised that my priorities lie elsewhere. I do not care to share it with the general public (like with Facebook - even the photo albums of my friends do not really interest me). Because my time is limited and I have to prioritize. Still have many many photographs to add to the profiles of my own family members. Also, validating and adding to my tree from the beginning of my / our identity, has priority. I do not deny any one else this category; I have no use for it one though.
LOVE the idea of having the shared photos in one place!
Thanks, Ellen.

Regarding "WikiTree Basics," I answered a comment below from RJ and Natalie suggesting the same thing ("How to WikiTree"). I think the relevant question is whether our regulars would like to help answer questions there.

Unfortunately, it would not be easy to have a big message at the top of the category suggesting that people look at help pages and FAQs. Unless we undertake more customizations of the forum software, which I am always hesitant to do.
Currently there is a fairly large contingent of regulars who  answer questions about the basics or How to Wikitree. Sometimes it's members who haven't been here real long themselves and are pleased to be able to help another newcomer with questions on thing like how to add a second spouse to an ancestor's profile, how to add a DNA test, why don't my reference citations appear on this profile, how do I document my relative who had a name change, and so on. Those kinds of questions typically get answered real fast. The broad open-ended requests like "how do I use this site?" don't get answered so fast, and they generally don't belong in a forum. I'd hesitate to call a category How to Wikitree so as not to give people the impression that they can find extensive hand-holding mentoring here. Putting questions about basics in their own category shouldn't prevent them from getting answered (they typically are answered within minutes after they appear in the main feed), but it should make it easier for responders to find other recent similar questiins with good answers to point to.
+6 votes
I like that idea on the categories.. and I like the Advanced Wikitreeing for Policy and Styling.
by Charlotte Shockey G2G6 Pilot (944k points)
"Advanced Projects and Profiles"?
+11 votes
I'm all for a new category for "WikiTree love"
- I'm a dour Swede and possibly not a very loving person ;-)

About the alternatives to "Policy and Style". I'm not sure the alternatives ar better. "Policy and Style" seems to me quite fitting; although the category probably includes a bit more than that today. It's certainly more than Pre-1700 and PPP. And the first two alternatives just don't sound very friendly to me.

And I don't think the "Requests for Project Volunteers" should be eliminated. The questions in that category would get lost in the Tree house. The questions that properly belong there should be around for a long time, accumulating sign-up answers long after the initial announcement was posted.
by Eva Ekeblad G2G6 Pilot (401k points)
I should say that when I check g2g in the mornings I do so category by category. After the time span of my night, this is a good way to check what has been asked/answered the last 8-12 hours. It's only the Tree house that fills up faster than that.
+19 votes
I have avoided G2G lately as it seems to be constantly clogged up with shared photos and wonderful wikitreers, both great things, but some days there is so many of them. The actually genealogy questions are quickly buried in stuff that holds no interest for me, so I take a quick peek and just look at my feed. I am sure I am missing some really great questions/answers. I wish there was a way to just view genealogy questions without all the other stuff.
by Jeanie Roberts G2G6 Pilot (126k points)
I also find it irritating to have to do so much scrolling to find the real content of the forum.
+10 votes
Would it be possible to select 2-3 categories that you are interested in and browse only those at the same time?
by Aleš Trtnik G2G6 Pilot (524k points)
You mean Boolean?

Yes. That you could set Interested/not interested for each Category. So I would set I am interested in Policy and Style and WikiTree Tech and I would see only posts from those. At the moment I am using only TAGs to reduce the number of posts I have to check.

And another great improvement would be to set a question as very interested in and I would receive email updates for any answer/comment in that post like if I was asking it. 

Nice. I really like this ... I love working with Boolean operatives, though within WikiTree (except for the sorting of tables) they have until now seemed absent as far as tags are concerned.
+7 votes

I agree on 1) Creating a separate category for WikiTree love (also to include subjects related to social media).

Category 2) is very clear to me. It is about "Policy" and about "Style". I would not like to see that becoming conflated with other tags such as pre-something something or Not-for-Newts - As it is to me, it is a clear category. The deeper hierarchic (sub-division) pages within this category may needs rethinking - this is where I often get lost and cannot see the forest for the trees.

Yes for Category 3) - eliminate and consolidate into Tree House - which to me may be considered for a name change if any category deserves it. I do as yet not have a substitute name ready for that. See my comment below.

by Philip van der Walt G2G6 Pilot (155k points)
edited by Philip van der Walt
Can’t we find a better name for it? Sorry, but as English person who has lived in Norway for 30 years I just can’t get excited about the term Wikitree Love. I will go so far as to say that I cringe when I hear it. I find it very offputting.
I agree with you Lynda. For me who comes from a more Germanic / French & Dutch influenced culture / background, it is also a rather frivilous mantra, even if I do regard "Love" the most important aspect of human life. A sacred energy perhaps even.

But just like "Question of the week" which to me is also frivolous and redundant, and contrived / forced - irrelevant - mostly, to others within WikiTree it does carry a lot of weight.

So I would not want to take that from WikiTree. In my humble opinion it deserves to stay. And feature somewhere.

Which brings me back to the category of the "Tree House" - on having pondered a bit - I would definitely not change the name as it is very aptly chosen - "Tree House" and the suggestion of the House being the cosy undercoming of all the genealogists in the tree.

I would extend the name though, as in a pay-off. Some of us live in deserts where a "Tree House" is a foreign concept; other on seas where there are only waves and water. Again others who are familiar with a tree house as a concept, might wonder what this one is all about - it does not say so in the title.

So I would choose a renaming of for example: "The Tree House - where we [...]" ...

Social Tree?  A bad play on Society (sorry) but less off-putting.
Here's another that cringes at the term wiki-tree love.(luurve comes into my head, sorry)
+13 votes
I think there should be a "How to WikiTree" section that wouldn't be advanced or technical.
by Anonymous Horace G2G6 Pilot (566k points)
That would have been so helpful to me when I was a newb here.
Ellen also suggested a "WikiTree Basics" category.

RJ and Natalie, would you answer questions there?

If members would be interested in helping Newts with basic questions, the category could make sense. Personally, it drives me crazy that people don't read any help pages before asking questions. But I'm not the person that matters here.
I certainly would, Chris. In my WT experience, the help section often confused me, since I didn't know enough to figure out where to look for help. Also, some of the explanation of things didn't make sense to me because I had no background. I came to G2G quite often, asking questions.

The name of this How-To/Basics category should have the word "Help" or maaaybe "FAQ" in it especially if it's intended to be the hub for newcomers to ask for interactive Q&A.  "Basics" sounds like where to look for self-guided instructional materials.

So: WikiTree Help

+12 votes

Hi Chris: 

I agree on 1)  Add a separate category for WikiTree love (also to include subjects related to social media). Yes please!

Category 2) "Policy" and about "Style" in my opinion should stay as is. The other recommended names does not include everything listed in policy and style. 

I disagree on Category 3)  Can we not have four or more categories?? As a volunteer coordinator I get lots of questions on what project to join and I like the idea of new members asking about a certain project on g2g as well, or project leaders asking for new members in its own category.  But putting that category traffic into the Tree House would just be as bad as keeping WikiTree love in there. It just would mean about the same amount of posts(Q&Q) then we already have, which would not eliminate the amount of traffic that a lot of us are asking for in the Tree House!

Dorothy B. G2G Moderator and Volunteer Coordinator. 

by Dorothy Barry G2G Astronaut (2.5m points)
I hope we aren't limited to five forum categories (the number that exist now). G2G forum activity has increased dramatically in recent months (due to  a combination of growth in membership, increased member awareness of the forum, and all those "Wonderful WikiTreers" threads), and it seems to me that additional categories are needed to help ensure that G2G remains an effective communication tool.

Your correct Ellen, I forgot "WikiTree Tech", so comment would be  "Can we not have five or more categories?? " 

And I definitely agree, we have grown in participation on the G2G forum especially in the last year or so. 

Hi Dorothy and Ellen,

I don't think there is a limit on the number of categories. We can definitely consider having more than five.

+8 votes

1.) The addition of a new category "WikiTree Love" and 3.) consolidating "Requests for Project Volunteers" into "The Tree House" would be great.

For No. 2.) I´d suggest "WikiTree Guidelines".

This is what we have:

Genealogist-to-Genealogist Forum

The Tree House(16,632)

Requests for Genealogy Help (49,624)

Requests for Project Volunteers (1,348)

Policy and Style (6,592)

WikiTree Tech (9,566)

This is how it would look:

Genealogist-to-Genealogist Forum

The Tree House(16,632)

Requests for Genealogy Help (49,624)

WikiTree Love (x,xxx)

WikiTree Guidelines (x,xxx)

WikiTree Tech (9,566)

by Rubén Hernández G2G6 Pilot (687k points)
+9 votes

Hi Chris,

1 - I would see Wikitree Love, Share Photo, Wonderfull Wikitreers in a new category called "Wikitree Social"

2-  Policy and Style... I think it says what it is. I could see it changed to something like Wikitree Guidelines as Dorothy says.  Advanced WT will eleminate new members that need be directed to policies and style guides.

3- Requests for Project Volunteers - change the category to "Projects Help" "Projects Matters" or something like it... so anything concerning projects could go in there.


by Guy Constantineau G2G6 Pilot (350k points)
"Wikitree Guidelines" is not bad as a replacement for "Policy and Style". Good idea actually.
I agree with Eva, it is an excellent suggestion.
I also agree that WIkitree Guidelines would be an appropriate category.
Yes to the Projects category - a lot of project-specific stuff is generally of no interest to those who aren't following the tags, so keeping it separate makes it easier to ignore.
+6 votes
Similar to Aleš question... would be be able to filter out categories we're not interested in from the main feed? Otherwise, the main feed is still flooded with those posts
by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (536k points)
I used to be able to keep up with most forum activity by checking the main feed once or twice in a 24-hour period, but that's no longer possible -- sometimes the main feed shows activity for only the last couple of hours!

I guess that this was inevitable. I've found the category-specific feeds to be very useful for monitoring recent activity from longer time periods, except for the Tree House feed. I calculate that moving Wonderful WikiTreers, shared photos, etc., into separate categories would reduce the size of each individual category feed to a level where it would be possible to keep up with new activity of interest without needing to check G2G super-frequently. (I've counted as many as 20 Wonderful WikiTreer posts among the 50 posts on the main feed at one time, and probably there were more in the Tree House feed. That greatly reduces the chance that other types of items, such as WikiTree announcements or members' reports on interesting news articles, will be seen.)
I don't often ask a question (I'm usually answering them), but when I do, I try to find the right time of day, day of the week, to ask, so that its get seen and not scroll off the page. (tags help too)
+6 votes
I would call this a post about policy as it's involved with changes. I'd like to see all calls for changes/improvements to how WT functions to be easily accessible. I never thought to click on the boxes at the right to just get these posts. I'd also like the Wikitree Love ones to be in a separate category. I'm all for thanking people, but the Kiwi way is to do it quietly and humbly behind the scenes.

Could a category be added for competitions like the weekly/monthly ones and the Source-a-thon?
by Fiona McMichael G2G6 Pilot (158k points)
Agreed Fiona. I am also more accustomed to thanking people quietly when they deserve it. I see no reason at all to have all of these Wonderful Wikitreer posts on a question forum.
I think publicly acknowledging people is good, but what annoys me is that some people just use the headline "Joe is a Wonderful WikiTreer" and don't add any explanation. Those posts are just clutter. We have what I think are pretty clear instructions, but perhaps we could be even clearer somehow.
Maybe you could try running a poll at some stage on what people actually think about the Wonderful Wikitreer posts.
+3 votes
I occasionally ask questions, and I have no idea how to categorize them.  I make a guess, and sometimes my questions are answered, sometimes not.  I think it would be useful to have more explanatory names.  The Tree House isn't an explanatory name.  If we can separate out congratulations and photos, then I'd like to easily be able to find the RSS feeds for other categories so I could follow the categories I'm interested in.  For me, Tags weren't a useful way to find posts I was interested in, so I just used RSS to get a feed of everything.
by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (201k points)
I have struggled to find an effective way of viewing by tags, so I just scroll through the main list trying to ignore all of the clutter. I would also welcome more guidance on how to tag questions correctly.
+5 votes

Adding an enthusiastic vote for putting the "Wonderful WikiTreer" and Photos posts in a separate section and having an option to hide them from the rest of G2G.  They are OK the first time around but then folks add answers to them instead of comments, in large groupings, and all the other topics get pushed off the page

by Patricia Roche G2G6 Pilot (428k points)
edited by Patricia Roche
+5 votes
Lots of good ideas here so far!  I'm in favor of changes to the categories, but like some of the others, I'm luke-cool to the proposed names like WikiTree Love and those for replacing Policy and Style.  Ellen makes a very good case for a proposed organization, and I very much like Aleš' proposal for selecting the categories you'd like to see in your feed.  If we can implement that, I hope it could be done in a way that is easily reconfigurable from day-to-day, and not an account "setting."  And by designating Policy and Style as something for only advanced members, that seems to say that newcomers should not be concerned about site policies or the style of their profiles.  Doesn't seem like the sort of message the site would want to send, so as others have suggested, I think we need to keep questions and answers on the policy and style basics readily available somewhere in the structure.
by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (394k points)
I agree that policy and style should not be restricted to advanced members. This is one of the things that new members struggle most with, so they need to be able to see ongoing discussions and understand the reasoning behind some of the requirements.
+4 votes
I'd love to see the shared photos have their own category, and the "wonderful wikitreer" posts.  But I do like the Policy and Style and Request for Project Volunteers categories. Policy and Style is often where I go first when I come to G2G.
by Nan Starjak G2G6 Pilot (258k points)
+5 votes

What will the researcher questions be called?

Sometimes we come to the end of our resources in filling out a profile.  But we have sourced a few things, disproven a couple of theories, etc.  Sometimes I've been able to help others; sometimes others have helped me.  A benefit of Wiki is that researchers from around the world, with many kinds of expertise, check in.

I've missed these interactions.  It's been fun to find a census for someone else -- for example, when the family of Delacroix turned out to have been renamed "Dillycrux" or another variation in a census record.  It's been fun & a relief to find another Wikitree researcher has a sourced answer.  

Just a thought.




by Janine Barber G2G6 Pilot (172k points)
The kinds of questions you describe go in "Requests for Genealogy Help." That used to be the most active category in G2G, until the recent explosive increase in activity in the Tree House. You may not see so many genealogy help questions in the main G2G feed any more, but you can still find recent activity in this topic by clicking on the link for Requests for Genealogy Help on the top right.

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