Should we ban new profiles which have neither an email address or a death year entered?

+3 votes
Edit: (if the person was born after 1918 or whatever the cutoff year is)

Edit 2: (if the email address is blank)

Now that the privacy settings of living people have been changed to "Unlisted", in order for compliance with new EU legislation, and keeping in mind the likelihood of different Wikitree users creating a profile for the same person because neither can see any details pertaining to the said individual if they are living, should the mode of entry be changed to ONLY permit deceased persons to have profiles created? This might save us a lot of time in the future when we'll have to merge all of the duplicated and triplicated profiles of living people back again.
in Policy and Style by Andrew Hunter G2G3 (3.9k points)
edited by Andrew Hunter
Andrew, If someone from my close family wish to create their own profile and worked back to my grandparents they would soon see that my father has a profile on WikiTree. He is living and therefore unlisted but they would see that his parents had a son and that said sone was my father and with that information should not create a new profile for him but rather contact me to be added to his trusted list. That would then allow them to see the information about him. Your proposal could actually create more problems, including possible duplicates because not many born in 1929 are still living and they could assume he had passed. The way things are currently is way better than what you are proposing.
Dale, I'm sorry but I am clearly missing something.You have said that your father is living and his profile is Unlisted. How therefore would I see who his parents are?

There are also many people on Wikitree who do their research from all kinds of different angles and not necessarily interested in their own family tree. Let's suppose someone is interested in civil registration in the town of your birth, and decides to work on effectively what is a local birth registry. They might find your name on Wikitree because you're a member and you're not unlisted, but then how do they find your close relatives that are also from that town? There is no way to see any family history connected to the person that I've found because those profiles are unlisted.
Andrew, If someone wanted to research Boone descendants in Columbiana Ohio they could find my grandparents and even my father. Without his unlisted profile they could assume that the child mentioned in the records has no profile on here and create one themselves. They could also assume that he is deceased but with the profile and armed that at least until after 1940, the last census available, there was only one child listed for his parents and there is a profile for one child on here. Logic would dictate that that profile is for the same person listed in birth and census records attached to the parents profiles.

3 Answers

+4 votes
I think that would be off-putting. People surely want to add themselves to the tree. Could well prevent potential new members from joining and we need all the help we can get.
by C. Mackinnon G2G6 Pilot (291k points)
The new people to whom you refer would not be affected

1. A person must join Wikitree to create a profile

2. If it is their own profile then that profile will have their email address that is used to join Wikitree

3. If it is another living person in their tree then they will be subject to the same rules as any current user - no email address entered and permission from email address owner, -----> Unlisted privacy level.
+6 votes
If you ban the creation of profiles without death dates, you will prevent anyone from adding any living person profile, including, but not limited to, their children, spouses, parents, grandparents. We wouldn't get very far attempting to build a global tree under those circumstances.
by Deb Durham G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)

Deb, preventing users from adding any living person profile (other than their own) is exactly what I am suggesting. No-one else can see the details of these profiles so they don't know that they even exist.

The idea of building a global tree is fanciful if you are talking about connecting to anyone who is living outside of the individuals whom you manage.

I can see your profile because you are a Wikitree member, but if your children are not Wikitree account holders, no one other than you can see their names and their information.

So, how exactly do I connect to my branch of the global tree if I cannot create profiles for my living parents or grandparents? I don't think you are thinking the consequences of such an action through.
If people can't connect themselves to the global tree, they will soon have no interest in contributing to WikiTree.
Deb, profiles for your parents and grandparents may well have already been created by another user but by changing the status of these profiles to Unlisted you don't (nor does anybody) see them. I agree it's not a great strategy. There are some users however who I am sure will say you should not be posting your parents and grandparents details unless you have their permission, and permission is now defined to be having an email address added in the profile and the person agreeing to be a non-active member of Wikitree.
I was really meaning Unlisted profiles. Unlisted profiles where nothing can be gleaned from the entry by someone else. I was not referring to new profiles for whom the person whose profile it is has given permission, and which can have it's status upgraded to "Private" where at least the name of the person will now show up in surname searches and the like.
I have to Agree with Deb, it is most useful to have all your family in one place for quick access and amendments to their profile. It is so easy to miss out on family events, news etc. Especially if your family is spread around the world.
If I could not see my unlisted living family members or edit their profiles then what is the point? I would be out of here.
Might as well go do the family tree on a spread sheet.
How many people do you think will take on that attitude?
Im sire we can deal with merge issues when the time comes

ALL profiles of living persons will be unlisted until further notice. We no longer have the option of changing privacy settings on living people. In any case, how do you determine which profiles are with permission and which are not? You are suggesting that profiles without death dates should be prevented from being propagated in the first place (that is what a ban means) unless members submit verifiable documentation of consent for every living family member they add (another reason for members to leave in droves). What you are suggesting is simply not viable. You either prevent members from making any profile without a death date or you don't. The only reasonable option is that you don't. 

Actually Deb, it's not the profile of ALL living persons that are now unlisted, it's ONLY the profiles for which there is no email address nominated.

Depending on other users' personal settings, this means that in theory we can also see some information about all other Wikitree genealogists.

I am not related to you but you can still view my full profile here

because I have chosen to make my profile private but with public tree and public biography.

It's only if you create a profile for someone who's living other than yourself. I created a profile for Natalie Imbruglia and for some of the other people whose family history has been featured on the TV series Who Do You Think You Are. I don't have an email address for her, and she probably doesn't know about the fact she has a profile, so her profile is now Unlisted.

Similarly I also created a profile for my mum and dad and a few more of my living relatives and they are also now Unlisted because I haven't given Wikitree their email addresses because neither of them are particularly interested in family history, hence the reason why it says on my profile son of [private father] and [private mother]. The only information I put on my living relatives' profiles was their name, their date of birth, their place of birth, and their relationship to other people (aunt, uncle, cousin etc). Private settings before the change only showed the decade to public users. I thought this was sufficient to "respect the privacy" as per the Wikitree pledge. Other members vehemently disagree.

I am very well aware of how it works, Andrew, I think you are missing the point. You've just confirmed that your own parents' profiles are unlisted. Simply adding an email address to a profile doesn't change it from unlisted. The person must accept the invitation to WikiTree at which point they become the manager of their own profile. If someone has family who do not wish to be involved, but whose profiles connect them to the global tree, your proposal would prevent that. In fact, if you were a new member it would prevent you from connecting to the tree.
+3 votes
Andrew, Your proposal would be very bad for WikiTree. As Deb has mentioned your proposed ban would create a lot of unconnected profiles. My connection to the big tree is thru my father, who is still living. If I did not add him then I would be unconnected, yes I could add my grandparents but they would not connect to me. In my case my father has no interest in learning anything to do with computers, he is almost 89, but he is very interested in what I find in my research. I know that he knows about his profile on WikiTree and has no problem with it and I also know that would never join himself. Your proposal would make it so that every member who has living parents could not connect to the big tree here and that is the main drawing point for WikiTree.  The conclusion is that even with the added difficulty in researching profiles for living individuals they do sometimes have a very important role in our work here.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)

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