What is the etiquette for dealing with an edit to one of my profiles?

+17 votes

So I've been on WikiTree for about two years and have created around 200 profiles - very few of which have connected into the big tree - so I haven't had too many dealings with others editing the profiles I created.

My question concerns Huff-3525, which I created a few days ago after conducting a fair amount of research.  I included 19 source citations for everything from census and marriage records, to historical books that referenced the people involved.

It's not a perfect profile, as none of them are, but I try to make sure all of my profiles have verifiable sources for everything I include.

So, like a day after I create the profile, someone came along and added a father and a big chunk of text on top of what I had created.  All of it was information I already had, but hadn't good sources for yet.  There were no sources given with this edit, other than the messsage that came with it: "entered bio from file researched in 1995 by [someone else]; need to merge with prior data".

Then the following "source" was added to the profile: "[someone else], "Peter and Margaret Huff of KY, OH, MI", file dated 10/3/95" - with no links. I never received a mesage or email from the editor, either.

My question is, how am I supposed to handle this?

Should I delete it?  Should I move it to the bottom of the page with a note that it is unsourced material? (I sometimes do that on my own profiles with research leads and such).

I've never used any other genealogy site before, and I really like the concept behind WikiTree, I just want to make sure that, as I gradually encounter more users of the tree that I am not stepping on toes, while still making sure that my profiles are all properly sourced.

Thanks for any advice!

EditThanks for the replies, everyone.  One of the responders simply reverted the change for me, but I decided to re-write his changes and add the non-redundant parts back (with attribution) in under a "Research Notes" section at the bottom.  I also contacted the editor to let him know, and asked about making edits to the (unsourced) father that he added.

WikiTree profile: Peter Huff
in Policy and Style by Ryan Dvorak G2G Crew (670 points)
edited by Ryan Dvorak
Do a restore and watch for similar edits in the future.  You can do that by checking your family activity feed each time you log in.  It takes time to make such an edit but seconds to restore.  I did this one for you.  Good luck!
My understanding of the current collaboration etiquette is that, before making substantive changes to a profile with an active manager, the person proposing the changes should reach out to the profile manager first.

That being said, it is also WikiTree etiquette to assume good intentions. In this instance, it seems the person making the changes is familiar with the family (shares the surname) and has substantive information to add. Rather than just changing the profile back, in an act of collaboration I would have put the new information in a "Under Construction" section to pick through over time (including deleting if it was redundant), and definitely reached out to them. They may have more information and sources they haven't added yet, and that's the WikiTree jackpot.

2 Answers

+13 votes

I took a look at the changes that were made.


I'm not sure but the snippets under the Notes heading could be censuses? Not really familiar with American genealogy.

That said, I would send the person who made the change a private message and ask him/her to please add sources with his info or put unsourced information under a Research notes heading.

It is always good to be courteous and I believe that the person who made the change had good intentions and could benefit from a discussion on how you wish your biographies written, not by pushing it upon him/her, but explaining how you would do.

I would definitely move it under a Research notes heading myself until I get the sources right.

Edit: Forgot to say I love to see such well researched profiles. :)

by Juha Soini G2G6 Pilot (102k points)
edited by Juha Soini

I, too, would place all of the added text under the Research Notes heading, Ryan.

And if you are open to collaboration on the profile, then follow Juha's advice; contact the other member and politely inquire about his interest in the profile and the source documentation that he mentioned in the explanation for the profile changes.

Don't worry about stepping on another member's toes, especially when you are the profile's manager. Just remember, that sometimes collaboration requires more communication than a short explanation of our changes.


+15 votes
Restore it to the way you had it. The additions look like needless clutter.

The strings of numbers after the names seem to be gedcom copy/paste junk
by Eddie King G2G6 Pilot (599k points)
I have just looked at this and agree. The new text is full of abbreviations that are 1) against wikitree best practice and 2) make the thing hard to read, especially for a foreigner like me. It needs completely reworking to fit the narrative bio style of the original text, which is a lot of work the manager never expected. If it was me, I'd probably spend hours picking over it, making it into a narrative style and trying to find a primary source for each "fact", when all I really want to do is revert when I look at it. I know because it happened to me too, when someone imported a gedcom just after the gedcom changes.

Every day I come across whole profiles that are written like this additional material and think what a shame it is because people new to genealogy will not be drawn to Wikitree if it can't be easily read and understood. Don't our forbears deserve to have something written about them that is a biography, not a pile of gobbledygook?

As for the two people who marked you down, Eddie, I think it is a shame people cannot accept others have different points of view, without negging them.
Hi Gillian !

I don't pay any attention to downvotes. With 5215 upvotes and 90 gold star best answers !

I am the X-Treme Kong of brick wall cracking. !  I'm devastatingly almost good-looking, play a killer jazz trumpet

And the downvoters are probably jealous because I'm six feet four inches  tall and can tear off car doors with my bare hands

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