Is anybody listening? Questions from anonymous

+12 votes
382 views

I often hesitate to answer questions posted by "anonymous" users (users with no account, or not logged in -- you know the ones, the ones that when you click on their "name" is only gives an IP address), because I think, if they haven't supplied an email address -- and why would they, if they're trying to be "anonymous"? -- then they'll never, ever see any answer.

When not logged in, there is indeed a field to supply an email address. But if I, personally were trying to be anonymous, I wouldn't give anyone my email address -- I don't care how secure they think their site is (the generic "they", not "WikiTree they").

Without a way to be notified, then returning back to this site and finding one's previous question, especially after its scrolled off the front page, is a near impossible task. I can barely do it when I'm logged in, and I'm even provided a tab that shows me the questions and answers I've posted.

The worst part, is when they don't provide enough information in their question, and we need to ask them for more clarification -- it'll likely never happen.

So I usually skip those questions.

Of course, the question -- and answer -- will still be on the forum, and maybe it'll help answer someone else's similar question later on in the future. So it can't hurt to try and give an answer. Who knows, maybe someone is listening after all.

in The Tree House by Dennis Wheeler G2G6 Pilot (537k points)
I picked up one of these questions soon after I joined. It was asking what Wiki Tree knew about a certain individual. This person was in New Zealand, and so am I, so I built a little tree for him. I do hope Anonymous has come back to see this family, but we will never know. Anonymous certainly hasn't asked to be a Profile Manager
I generally don't answer questions from Anonymous, but I make exceptions.  If the question contains a material misstatement, I will try to give the correct info.  Also, if I find that the question is very interesting or if the answer could be helpful to other Wikitreers, I will try to answer the question.

It would be helpful if, when Anonymous added an email address, there was some indication on the question, such as "Anonymous will be notified of any answers or comments."
The anonymice who post "Who in my family was Cherokee??" or other vague questions about their Native American princess ancestor, with no dates, locations, or any other info... you just know that they're never coming back to clarify or anything else. It's the genealogical equivalent of crop-dusting a fart.

7 Answers

+11 votes
 
Best answer

Well said, Dennis. Even with minimal info coming from “Anonymous” posters, we do try and give an answer. Who knows? Maybe they will join us. But even if they don’t, those answers really may help someone else who is a member.

Point made about minimal info, though. Just how does one answer those? 

by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.2m points)
selected by Rubén Hernández
From what I've seen, mostly they get answered by someone suggesting that they might get some assistance if they provide more information.
Thank you Rubén!
+10 votes
I'm listening and have wondered the same issue.
by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (707k points)
Me too!  About their "anonymous" status, though - that's automatically filled in by WikiTree if they don't enter anything in the space for their name and we have no way of knowing whether they included their email address when they posted the question.
Well, I certainly don't spend as much energy researching their question as I would if they were WikiTree members. If it has to do with Sweden - and isn't impossible, due to scant data - I may try to make a useful comment, just to see if they are one of those accidentally-logged-out members.
+10 votes
I don't have any real statistics, but it's my impression that a significant percentage of G2G posts by "Anonymous" are comments (presumably by non-members) that say we have incorrect data on someone's profile.  Often they don't say what the correct data is, and they almost never provide a source.  Perhaps if I were the Profile Manager of a profile getting such a comment I would follow up.  But otherwise there doesn't seem to be any point in responding.  I have seen some responses that say contact the PM, or provide your sources, but there is never any follow-up by Anon.
by Dennis Barton G2G6 Pilot (428k points)
I suspect that those "anonymous" folks have said what they have to say and will never come back to see if anyone does anything about it.  When a member responds, asking for sources or recommending they give the information to the profile manager, I doubt that they'll ever see it.  I agree about it not being worth our time to respond.
+5 votes
Sometimes those anonymous-with-an-IP-address is actually a WikiTreer who is questioning (probably via a phone) but hasn't logged in.  They are possibly more likely to search and search for their question.
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+7 votes

One type of question which I find pretty annoying, coming from anonymous (presumably a non-member) is when errors of the kind that the suggestions report picks up in the hundreds - like parents born after their children - are pointed out through snotty questions like "How can Jane Doe be the daughter of Harry Doe, who died 50 years before she was born?"

My first impulse is usually to try to think up an equally snotty answer. Or, I should say, my first impulse was - I think I have learned to ignore them.

I may also have been a good girl a few times and mentioned the Suggestions report and the Data Doctors, who will presumably get to it in an orderly fashion.

by Eva Ekeblad G2G6 Pilot (427k points)
When I'm tempted to give snotty answers, I have to make myself stay away from G2G for a while, else I'll starting answering all the questions that way :)

I actually think I managed to get over that urge, and just move on to the next item. Got a bit fed up by my own reactions there, I think. cheeky

+6 votes

If a person who is not logged into WikiTree posts a question in G2G, the form will include the following items:

Privacy: Your email address will only be used for sending these notifications.
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To avoid this verification in future, please log in or register.

I think most people who post anonymously probably do include an email address, so they will see replies. Sometimes an anonymous questioner reappears here months later after someone has posted an answer to their query.

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Yeah, I won't add an email address when asked, unless forced.
+1 vote
Six months ago, "anon" emailed details about a profile for someone who died in 2018.  The person's information was likely accurate, but unsourced, and I couldn't follow up.

The Wiki profile was for someone who (by all accounts) was placed in an orphanage, and then adopted. Does WikiTree have a tutorial to help clarify orphan information?  How would someone research orphanages and policies?

This is understandably sensitive information, but I'd love to get some help with it.
by Janine Barber G2G6 Pilot (179k points)

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