Shouldn't the One Place Studies project have another leader?

+6 votes
I believe the One Place Studies Project qualifies as a 'high level project' and therefore should have two leaders. At the moment we have just one leader but she has not been actively involved of late to my knowledge. How can we get a second leader involved to ensure the project moves forward, project badges are awarded promptly etc.?
in The Tree House by Martin White G2G6 Pilot (150k points)

6 Answers

+12 votes
Best answer
That leader is the worst at leading projects! (No joke, I am literally the worst. I'm not great at leading people. Or responding to messages in a timely fashion.)

In all honesty, the project should probably be folded into the various place-specific projects. OPS doesn't manage any profiles so no need for a project box (there can still be a sticker, since those are independent of projects). The project can't protect any profiles, and is instead told that any profiles in a OPS should be protected by a different project. There isn't a list of to-do items / errors to work on like with other projects. Categorization doesn't like it that there are categories for a place, and for that place's OPS, so no real need to manage categories either. Some people want to start a OPS but refuse to join the project. It's basically just a loose collection of free space projects.

If you can find a Leader who thinks they can do ~something~ to make this into an active project, I'd be super happy to let someone take over. I really don't know much about OPS and was only around to help the project coordinator with leader-y stuff, but the project coordinator stepped down.
by Jamie Nelson G2G6 Pilot (642k points)
selected by William Foster
I admit I'm not sure with the new project box/account thing, but one name studies were allowed to ppp profiles. I remember how thrilled I was to be able to ppp some of the New Haven Colony ones, and probably had two dozen such profiles. I've placed them all under the Connecticut project at this point. So the United States OPS could be folded in. I'm not sure about other places. Are there Projects that cover every country?

Still I think that it's nice to have a OPS umbrella. It gives just a little bit of structure to the otherwise "loose collection of free space projects"
Projects aren't supposed to PP profiles unless the project account is managing the profile and the project box is on the profile. The OPS really has no reason for a project account (the main benefit of a project account is having a watchlist of related profiles -- random profiles of various OPS wouldn't be of much use).

I'm guessing when the OPS project was started there weren't many place-based projects. Now there are a lot (and hopefully there will be more in the future!)

It makes much more sense for a OPS to be nested under the place-based project. There could still be a general "How to start a OPS" help page or something similar, but I feel like a person doing a OPS in England, for example, would be better served by the England project.

For the projects that don't (yet) fall under a place-based project, the current category structure should be fine. The categories that group OPS free space pages are already nested under the appropriate location categories.
Some people wanted to start a OPS and joined the project.
But were told by the leader that unless they did it in a certain way they were not allowed to call what they were doing a OPS because it wasn't "officially approved".
Some people wondered why leaders issued diktats, rather than WT being a co-operative space.
Some people are still working on a OPS for the benefit of other people interested in that place (and, yes, I've had quite a few mails about things that have turned up) regardless of whether it's an "official" OPS or not.
Someone didn't want to join the project, but wanted to use the project's categories. The categories that were created to organize the pages of project members. The project coordinator told them that they didn't have to join the project, but please don't use the project's categories, use the appropriate location categories instead.

Then the categorization project determined that the OPS project didn't have a right to manage categories created specifically for their project. Which is when I realized there was really nothing left to lead, since people were going to do what they were going to do.

So I still stand by my opinion that the OPS project is unnecessary. It can't manage profiles, can't protect profiles, can't choose what gets listed in the categories under their project's category tree, people can make OPS without joining the project. So what's the point of the project?

So a 'leader' was allowed to take over the project who openly admits that they "really don't know much about one place studies", are "the worst at leading projects!", "not great at leading people … or responding to messages in a timely fashion"? Not really surprising then that their opinion is the one place studies project is "unnecessary" and they don't see the point!

Like one name studies, one place studies can, and should, play an important part in building WikiTree. Instead of studying people bearing a single surname, the focus is on studying all individuals who lived in a particular location over the centuries, how the families inter-married etc. Project members can add individual profiles as they go or build up comprehensive gedcoms for uploading. 

The one place studies concept was first recognised in England where the approach is 'bottom up' - one person typically starts with a village or small town and then may broaden coverage or start additional studies later. There are now many such studies in the UK, Europe, Canada and the US. Some US studies are more 'top down' and cover much larger areas. As a result they are likely to be less comprehensive unless a good number of additional 'contributors' can be found.

I believe the project is worth fighting for. Fellow one place study project members please make your views known!

I guess I shouldn't jest, but in a thread posted to complain about me, I thought I should complain about myself. Like I said earlier, I came on to help the project coordinator (who knows a lot about OPSs!) to help them do things that project coordinators can't do. It doesn't take any knowledge of a specific subject to edit a template or award a badge. I wasn't the one monitoring the join thread so I wasn't aware that people had joined the project. When the coordinator resigned, I even considered asking you to be the new project coordinator. But real life got in the way and I didn't respond quick enough for your liking, I guess.

I absolutely understand the benefit of OPSs. I don't see the point of it being a top-level WikiTree project. None of the functions of a WikiTree Project apply to the OPS project. The "leaders" of the OPSs are the managers of the individual OPS free-space pages, and they do just fine on their own. There doesn't need to be a project overseeing them.

Please list reasons why you think it needs to be a top level project.
I am the project coordinator who stepped down.

I only feel that the OPS Project should continue if people are going to follow the procedures - not 'rules', that's going to upset people - and it is given a bit more authority.  The person who point-blank refused to join the Project and argued about using its categories and the OPS name, (which I feel is WT's version of a trademark) upset me so much and had such a negative impact on my health, that I seriously considered resigning back then.  And he's doing the exact opposite of what I communicated, by using Dorset Place Studies and England Place Studies, which are supposedly managed by the OPS Project and I told him he couldn't use.

I am also Project Coordinator of another Project and am enjoying myself thoroughly.  It does take up my time, however, and I decided to streamline my WT activities.  As Jamie said, the "leaders" of the OPSs are the managers of the individual OPS freespace pages, so I found myself in a position where I felt like a 'fifth wheel', and only there to argue what should and shouldn't be done.

I don't want to argue any more.  I want to enjoy my hobby.

So a 'leader' was allowed to take over the project who openly admits that they "really don't know much about one place studies", are "the worst at leading projects!", "not great at leading people … or responding to messages in a timely fashion"? 

Perhaps you are not completely familiar with the roles and duties of a Coordinator and a Leader? The Coordinator in most cases actually lead and manage the day-to-day operations of a project, while the Leader(s) (one of a select few WT members) are there to support the Coordinator with items that Coordinators cannot do themselves (badges, PPP status, templates, etc.).

Leaders are also volunteers to the Projects, just like the Coordinators and members. If no one volunteers to be the leader, the project can become a stagnant mess of issues, especially as a Top-level project. Jamie stepped up to support the project where it was needed, not to run it.

On another topic, Jamie - I am probably the subject of your earlier discussion on categories, OPS membership, etc. That entire situation went a little overboard, and that surely was not my intent by any means. I can fill you in on the background if needed.

At any rate, I do think that the OPS Project deserves a place as a high-level project, for the same reasons we have the ONS Project at the same level. Even though there is not a lot of actions performed by the Project, it does provide a place where questions be asked, information provided, etc.

The OPS Project also serves a resource for other sites, such as, and the directory links directly to the OPS Project page, as well as 162 studies documented on WT.

With that being said, I cannot debate on the functions of the OPS not fitting the normal functions of a Project. But is that something that could change, and be moved into the formal guidelines/functions of a Project?

I have recently toned down my work on other Projects that I am a member of in order to work on my OPS'. If needed, I would be more than willing to assist the project in any way that is needed, if help is still being requested.

Martin, what is it that you want to see done, or where is it that you see one place studies going.

> So I still stand by my opinion that the OPS project is unnecessary. 

Indeed. I'm not disagreeing.

I can add categories to a profile without needing to be a member of the Categorisation project.

I can create a profile in a country / county without being part of a suitable project for that country / county.

I can conduct a one-person study without joining a project.

So why on earth is my one place study not "officially approved" because I'm not part of a project.
The idea that it's WT "trademark" is laughable,

And the idea that you must join a project to use categories that they "own" flies in the face of what WT is about.

I can see the uses of a one place study. For people to compare notes and experiences. But I've got to question what "authority" they have to insist people do things in a certain way.

Thanks, Jamie, for your time. I am seriously considering your OPS suggestion to field them out to the regional projects that apply. They can still be OPS, but they'd be managed by the country projects that they relate to instead of a separate OPS project. ONS cannot function that way since surnames spread all over, but geographic regions are set in one place. They could still use categories/stickers, but there wouldn't be a need for a top-level project. We could retire it and you could focus on other projects like LDS :-)
I really like the idea of having them managed by country.
+5 votes
'We' can't do anything.  It's up to the Leaders themselves to talk among themselves and volunteer.  It's not our decision.
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)
+18 votes
I rather feel this thread has turned into an attack on someone who stepped up when there was no else to lead. (Thank you for that, Jamie Nelson!) Unless someone else is willing to take what is undoubtedly a very large task from her hands, or help her out with it, I hope we can keep this thread limited to constructive, "how to help" ideas rather than...anything else.

Just my two cents!
by E Childs G2G6 Pilot (135k points)

I run the independent One Place Studies Directory and I have been actively encouraging non-WT members with one place studies to join WT and the one place studies project. I had volunteered to become a project coordinator to help it along but got no response. I raised a concern that project member badges were not being awarded but got no response. Generally there is next to no communication about the project and I suggested a while ago that a 'google group' be set up but got no response. I raised the G2G question above as a genuine concern that the project had stalled and it was asking whether a second leader can be appointed to ensure project badges are awarded promptly and the project moves forward.

I was somewhat taken aback by the project leader's response. "That leader is the worst at leading projects! (No joke, I am literally the worst. I'm not great at leading people. Or responding to messages in a timely fashion.)" The first sentence might well have been in jest, but the second sentence did say "No joke" and backed up the first claim. Instead of saying let's work together to give the project a chance the leader stated in another thread "I still stand by my opinion that the OPS project is unnecessary."

This is not an attack on the present leader. It is a genuine attempt to get some resolution to the issues raised.

Martin, as Ros pointed out above, Leaders are not appointed to projects. They choose to lead a project. Currently there are more projects needing leaders than leaders available. (you can see that by visiting the projects page and see all the "leader wanted" notices).
You say you had no response when you asked about awarding badges.  Er...I did respond to you, saying that I could not do it because I was not a Leader.  Same day, I think.
Ros - I was referring to my request to the project leader after you said you couldn't award badges - Martin
+11 votes
Hi Martin,

The number of Leaders to Projects is not equal right now. We made changes to try to make it so projects were rarely without Leaders, but it takes time to make those adjustments. Jamie has been pretty gracious in her responses to your question. She volunteered to help out where no one else would. She has a lot to keep up with on WikiTree. Our other option, if she doesn't seem to meet what you believe she should be doing, is to set the project as dormant or even retire it altogether, meaning it no longer will take new members. Honestly, if this is the sort of feedback Jamie is getting, I think I'd prefer that. She deserves far more respect for trying to help than what she's received here.
by Abby Glann G2G6 Pilot (750k points)
Abby, I just wanted to throw in my two cents here. First, I think that this post alone should not be a reflection of the majority of the members, or even the members of the OPS Project. I do think some changes could and should be made to the project, and I still see it as a highly beneficial project to keep in place.

And I completely agree that Jamie deserves much more respect than she is getting in this thread; in fact, all Leaders do. I think it is too easily overlooked (or unknown, or forgotten), that in many cases, a Leader is only there to assist the Coordinator(s) and members, not help run the Project from the day-to-day perspective.
But, surely, Steven, saying that the Leader is there only to assist the Coordinator(s) is demoting the position of Leader, isn't it?  To my mind, a Leader is there to...well...lead.
Ros, I don't view that as demoting the position at all. My response was based off of the Help:Leaders page where it states that Project Coordinators can lead projects, but only Project Leaders have the power to do certain things, such as assign Project Badges, PPP Profiles, work with Templates, etc.

The point was not to suggest that a Leader is not a valuable part of a project, or to minimize the position, but that the Leader is not required to be the 'principal' on that project. They are there to support the Project in their needs, and handle the items that the principals do not have access to.

There are certainly cases where the Project Leader is an active part of a project and works in the day-to-day operations of that project, but it is not by any means a requirement. In this case, Jamie has volunteered her time (where no other leader was currently able or willing), to keep the project moving where her access levels were needed.
Abby - please see my response to E. Childs above - Martin
+3 votes
I joined the project awhile ago, and I've followed other examples and created a few free space pages.  I have no idea if I'm doing it well or right, but I figure that someone will come along and let me know at some point that I'm doing it all wrong, and that's fine.  I leave it up to all of you to decide what to do with it as a project.  I'll still work on my pages, and add others as these are finished, and eventually someone will say, "Hey, we don't have that project any more.  What are you doing these for?" and that will be that.  That's the Wikitree way.
by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (231k points)
+5 votes

I’m used to plain language interpretations so to me a person leading a project is a ‘Project Leader’. I now understand WikiTree Leaders do not always lead projects and may instead act more like a ‘Project Sponsor’ in the business world.

My original question above was based on the Project Leadership statement “All top-level projects need to have at least two WikiTree Leaders involved in them”. Only one Leader is named for this project.

The Leaders Help page says there are only a “few hundred” Leaders, yet the WikiTree Leaders page lists just 65 Leaders. Which is correct? If the latter is correct, this is worrying given the number of projects!

The Leaders Help page states there can only be one Leader for every 1,000 registered members. Is this placing unnecessary restrictions on projects? Does this need to be relaxed? 

On the one hand the Leaders page says Leaders must maintain a high-level of participation. One commentator said it was undoubtedly a very large task. But where a Project Coordinator is ‘leading’ a project, a Leader’s involvement can be much less onerous.

At the very least, one Leader should award badges when members join the project and periodically check the badge page to make sure the membership list is current. Another Leader, or the Project Coordinator, should keep the project page updated, maintain communication with members etc.

Given the apparent shortage of Leaders and heavy workloads, why is it that only Leaders can award project badges? Can this not be delegated to Project Coordinators? As the Leader has said, “it doesn’t take any knowledge of a specific subject to award a badge”.

I believe One-Place Studies deserve equal status to One-Name Studies. They are growing in popularity. Maintaining a separate identity through an active project and badge will help broaden their appeal to the WikiTree Community.

FACT: WikiTree has the potential to become the leading community for hosting one place studies.

Currently 96 badges have been awarded (although one badge holder’s account is now closed). Up to 15 badges are overdue. I suspect the reason for this is the G2G question asking for members to join was posted by the Project Co-ordinator. It should have been posted by the Leader so they would receive the email notifications.

I’ve been asked what I would like to see:

·       the project continue with its current status

·       clear guidance up front on what a one place study is and what commitment is required

·       a warm welcome and badges awarded promptly when new members ask to join and all overdue badges awarded

·       clear guidance on setting up a free space page and how to categorize it and individual profiles correctly

·       extra support for those who need help

·       follow up communications to individual members asking how they are getting on, whether they have any issues etc., what their goals are

·       regular communications sharing best practice

·       setting up of a Google Group so members can discuss issues, make suggestions etc.

·       promoting the project to the wider WikiTree community whenever possible

·       contact existing members without study places showing to see if they wish to continue or withdraw

·       updating and synchronizing the badges and project members lists

·       consider introducing a fresh design for the sticker

·       pragmatic approach allowing flexibility when needed

·       review and update project documentation, goals etc.

I’ve worked behind the scenes to keep the hierarchal index categories updated. I’ve been doing one-place studies for nearly 20 years. I’ve run the free One Place Studies Register (now Directory) for five years. I’ve offered to be Project Coordinator. Let’s work together and make it succeed!

FACT: Did you know 16 Leaders are doing one-place studies? That represents 25% of all those on the WikiTree Leaders page and demonstrates just how popular one-place studies are with those in the know!!

by Martin White G2G6 Pilot (150k points)
edited by Martin White

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