Will you answer some questions about volunteers?

+5 votes
If I volunteer to help a Guest Member then does that prevent them from getting a Volunteer badge?  Is the outcome the same as if they had a Volunteer badge?

Your editing is limited if you have not signed the Honor Code.  It is also limited if you have not Volunteered.  What exactly are those editing limitations for each?
in The Tree House by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (552k points)
retagged by Abby Glann

1 Answer

+12 votes
Best answer
When a person first comes to WikiTree, they create a Guest account. With that account they can look around on WikiTree, do research, upload a gedcom file for comparing their ancestry to what is already here, enter the DNA results of any tests they have taken. They cannot add any family tree members. They cannot add their parents, grandparents, children, etc.

Once they have created their research Tags, volunteered and been confirmed as a Family Member by a WikiTree Greeter they may then do all of the above plus they may add their direct family line – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. They may not edit Open profiles that are not in their family line.

When a Family Member signs the Honor Code, they have all the responsibilities and rights of a full member. They may add unrelated individuals to the family tree, they may edit Open privacy profiles, and any other privilege that a full member has.

If you want to help a Guest, your best help would be to advise them to complete their research tags and volunteer so they can be confirmed and get the information that all new members receive.
by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (479k points)
selected by Patricia Roche
Thanks for this information, Shirley.

When those of us members who aren't Greeters view the profile of a Guest account, we see some text that says the person is a Guest who hasn't volunteered yet, and if we are willing to work with them on their family genealogy we can confirm them for the next level of participation. I believe this is the message that Peter is asking about, and I think that if we confirm such a person, they become a Family Member, but they don't get labeled as a "Volunteer."

This is confusing. Part of my confusion is that I see some Guest members have posted statements indicating why they want to participate in WikiTree, but haven't been confirmed by a Greeter, and I can't figure out why not. Were they overlooked in the Greeter's feed? Did they not follow some sort of protocol that was described on a welcome page that members don't see? And if I confirm such as person as a family member, am I incurring some sort of personal obligation?
Ellen, you are correct in the first part of your statement. If a non-greeter confirms a guest they become a Family Member but do not get a Volunteer badge. They also do not get the information that is provided to all new members to help them begin work on WikiTree.

A guest member may have posted a comment on their own profile page indicating that they want to work on WikiTree. However if they do not volunteer, a greeter does not know that they are wanting to become a member. It is the act of volunteering that alerts the greeter to the interest in becoming a member.

Yes, if you, as a non-greeter, confirm a new member you take on the responsibility of making sure that they know what they are supposed to be doing and answering the questions that they may have as a novice member of WikiTree.
As a long-time member of WikiTree who is not a Greeter, it is a very long time since I have seen the screens that are displayed to Guests to invite them to volunteer. This makes it exceptionally hard for me to explain what a person needs to do in order to volunteer. If a Guest who reads https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Volunteers has been unable to successfully complete the process, I don't have any idea how to walk them through it. I can advise people on how to add their DNA data, how to work with Gedcompare, how to fix a relationship error, etc., but I can't advise them on how to join WikiTree.

Is there a page where active members can see the forms that are displayed to newbies so we can advise them on how to complete the process?

I just went looking for a sample page. And the only one I found is out of date. I know there's one out there, so I emailed my fellow greeters to see if somebody else can tell me where it is.

Basically what the page does is tell the guest to create research tags on the special tags page  Then there is a bar on the profile page that says "add tags and volunteer." Once the guest clicks that bar a line will appear in the guest feed telling the current greeter that someone has volunteered.

Possibly the best alternative when someone asks a question on G2G about volunteering is to refer them to a greeter or add the "volunteer" or "membership" tags to their question.

Do they have to open the Tags page to add tags? That step (particularly, finding that page) might be the thing that flummoxes some would-be volunteers who don't understand why they aren't accepted.
There is a link on their profile page, just as there is on yours.
I had assumed that there was a special unified volunteering page where guests could go through all the necessary steps. The fact that they have to find the Followed Tags page helps explain for me why so many guests say they can't figure out how to volunteer. There are also a lot of established members who can't find that page without help.
The link to the Followed Tags page is on their profile page, at the top right corner. Hard to miss. Keep in mind that about 150 people every day manage to find the appropriate link, create their tags and Volunteer. The ones who post on G2G are extremely rare, possible one out of about 1000, I don't think it's that difficult to become a member.

Thanks for this information, Shirley. This will be very helpful.

It's not just on G2G that I encounter people who are having difficulty volunteering here. It's also in PMs and in interactions with people who posted comments on profiles and say they did so because they haven't managed to get sufficient site access to edit profiles.

Examination of some profiles for people who joined (as Guests or Family Members or Genealogists) before the tag-following requirement was added (and who still don't follow any tags), leads me to conclude that people only see the "Followed Tags" link on their profiles after they have added at least one followed tag. Before that, it appears that they may have to go to Add > Followed Tags. Knowing that will make it so much easier to assist some of the people I encounter. It's been frustrating to be able to advise people on various intricacies of this website, but to feel clueless when they ask about how to become a member.

Just out of curiousity, why do tags have to be added before becoming a member. I wondered about that during my own joining process. It would have made more sense to me to be asked to add tags after I had become more familiar with how they are used.
I believe the intent is to encourage new members to get involved in G2G, and to engage in community interactions in general. There are more than a few people who joined before this requirement was added, and are still active but have never added tags and do not participate in G2G.
Perhaps that is the intent Ellen, but I sometimes wonder if it may be having the opposite effect. It may be deterring people from joining at all as it gives them yet another hoop to jump through before they can become a member and contribute. It might be better to just send a reminder about G2G and tags after they have crossed the hurdle and made a start.
Before we started having guests add research tags, they were required to write a brief comment on their profile page outlining their genealogical interests. We decided that if all they had to do was add a couple of surname tags rather than write the comment, that would be easier for the new guests to become a volunteer and a member.

One of the reasons for the Tags (and prior comment) was to make sure that the person signing up is actually interested in genealogy. The greeters are the first line of defense against spammers, bots and vandals who would damage WikiTree.
My personal preference would have been to be asked to write a brief comment. The requirement to add tags at that stage just struck me as a pointless request that left me questioning whether to bother going on through the process, but I suppose everyone views these things differently.

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