Stepping on Toes

+41 votes

This is in a way, an apology to anyone where I have stepped on your toes.   Today I had an experience where I saw a profile with an absolutely incredible biography, no sources, no connections to anyone...  This man had served the US in WWI, albeit he was underage, and every other war including Vietnam.   That person deserved a "special" profile at Wikitree.  So, off I went looking for sources.   I found death records, census records, military records for WWII, I was writing up a storm.   I found his parents and a bunch of siblings, marriage record, I was so excited.   I sent an email to the profile manager to have them take a look at what I had done.

The response I got was."I wasn't finished with that profile". and then they set the privacy as Public so I couldn't do any more editing.sad

So, if I stepped on your toes in the past, I do apologize, but, if anyone out there wants to provide sources and biography for profiles that I manage...thank you.

in The Tree House by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (887k points)
Huh. I'll tell ya', any help anyone wants to do on the pages I start, as long as they're well researched with solid sources, is more than welcome to. I'm a little surprised by the guy's response. I'm here to learn about my family, origins, and culture. Anyone who can add to that is only helping me out. Sure, I want to contribute; and if anything I add helps someone else learn along the way, too, well that's terrific. But I'm not here to curry laurels; and those that are might want to re-evaluate their priorities, or at least their focus. I say good on ya'.
Robin, I think it might be a question of when the profile manager last worked on the profile.  If it was some time ago, I'd scratch my head about the response that they were not finished working on it, but if it were very recently then I would probably want to contact them before making all kinds of improvements to it.

Regardless, I would expect a more courteous response than what you got.

Personally, I was upset when a profile I worked on in the distant past was recently edited by someone who replaced blank birth/death dates with the data in a research note I had left that indicated it was found in a record that was probably for a different person with the same name.  Even though it was a few years ago that I left that profile (and orphaned it, since it wasn't part of my family), I expect members to use some modicum of intelligence when making changes, even though there was no reason for anyone to notify me about it.  A different member had also made a recent change to the same profile, in which they removed the Unsourced template I had put there and also removed the <references /> tag!  Again, I hardly consider this in the nature of "improvement"!

I know your work and would be thrilled if you want to make any changes to profiles I either manage or have orphaned after doing my best for them - I may be able to code circles around most members, but my genealogical research skills are probably in the 1 percentile, so my best usually ain't too snazzy in content meat, although I take great pride in the eye candy.

I would be honored to have you work on any of my profiles.... I'd be really looking for the Vietnam era source on this one, unless he was a general..... But I've gotten into enough trouble on sources this past week.

You're the best.


8 Answers

+20 votes
Best answer
If you have a look at the date the last change was made, you can tell if someone is active. I would say that after a couple of months, the manager may have got sidetracked and forgotten to add in the intended data and is "Fair Game".  If it is obviously being added to regularly, I might message them with some helpful sources and let them take it from there.
Personally, if someone wants to help add in sources I would not be offended. 2 pairs of eyes are better than one. There are a couple of people who are working on similar tree branches and I often find data for them. They have never been offended as sometimes they then find sources that can add so much more to the rest of their tree.
by Lynlee OKeeffe G2G6 Mach 1 (19.3k points)
selected by Mary Alvarado
I get sidetracked ALL the time!

I also get involved like Robin did when I start trying to sort out duplicate profiles for a family I'm researching and wind up doing tons of work on a profile managed by someone else. I'll try to remember to first check last edit/PM contributions.

Cheers, Liz
+19 votes
I'm always appreciative of someone taking the time to help. If I'm working on a profile, I always put a note at the front saying so and use the ~~~~ to mark when I saved it. Avoids problems by warning people I'm working on it.

Anyway, I would encourage people still working on something to mark it but if it stays unchanged for months, then all bets should be off.
by Doug McCallum G2G6 Pilot (556k points)
+18 votes
The whole idea of WT is collaboration. I think she should have appreciated the help.
by Dallace Moore G2G6 Pilot (159k points)
Research should be done and sources should be available before the profile is created. That will avoid this kind of situation in the future.

But never the less, I would welcome any help I can get - as long as the source is correct.
Likewise - I think it's ridiculous that they set the profile to public instead of letting it be open-edited. Even when I am actively working on a profile I still wouldn't care. Is it a little awkward? Yeah. But they're only trying to help and supply info to a profile! It's not their fault I do my work in chunks.

I think that's not in the spirit of our collaborative goal. Very interesting.
I don't much like this notion that you should be ready to finish a profile before you start it.  I thought the point was to post whatever you have, and then other people can (a) use it and (b) add to it.
Disagree with you Robynne, at least the way your statement is coming out.  Agree that there should be at least one source put on a new profile on creation.
Danielle, I have found that certain things MUST be present for a profile to be created. Below are the absolute MINIMUM required to create a profile.

First name, LNAB, (even if it is unknown - but I personally hate using the unknown place-holder), gender, either a date of birth or death and 1 source - (preferably not a Geni or ancestry family tree)

I simply like to find as many sources as possible - especially if there is a marriage or any children involved.

I apologise if my above statement (about sources being found before one starts a new profile) comes across as bossy or a demand. You are all free to ignore it of course.
Liz, I disagree with you. Not long ago I created a profile and in the course of fleshing it out I found that there were three people with the same first and last name listed in the census records for the same general area. The ages were all close enough that it took some time to determine what record was the source I was looking for. Another came along and just picked the first record they found and added that one without further research. In those cases we need to slow down the well meaning folks and do the proper research or else we will never achieve a truly quality site. As I said elsewhere I am opening up a lot of profiles I manage and cutting a lot of them free, but when I am taking the time to properly research a profile it is more productive in the long run for everybody to limit the damage in the first place.
Robynne, the confusion on your statement was simply that it sounded as if you wanted all events of the life sourced before creation.  Nothing else, no upset on my side.
Ah, see, Dale, that's when there's special circumstances, though. I'm quite used to working on profiles with odd names or who I know don't have doppelgängers who could be running around the same area. When I do, there is more care involved on my end as well. (and a LOT of profile making, since I usually make the other profiles too and mention them in the bio). So that makes sense!
+11 votes
I am always reluctant to even touch someone else's stuff.   I just comment the sources I find and usually leave the profile alone.  

Unless it is my ancestor too.   Then I am still shy of touching things.
by Wendy Fromme G2G6 Mach 2 (26.9k points)
+10 votes
Ideally it would be a basic ground rule in a wiki that you can't reserve territory.  You can't hold up a task that somebody else wants to move forward on, simply because you'd like to do it yourself later.

But we don't have any such rules here.  So in practice I go with Wendy and try to remember to leave other people's stuff alone.  Too many toes to be stepped on.
by Living Horace G2G6 Pilot (649k points)
+14 votes
I manage profiles that, some at least, have not been touched since December of 2017 and for those I have no problem with others working on them, indeed most of the profiles I manage I say no problem. But when I create a profile and others "help" within hours of creation I say WAIT. Most I deal with have common names and there are several possibilities that need research, and research takes time. So it is a matter of speed vs quality and I vote for quality every time. That is a major reason I set the privacy to a higher setting when I can on profiles I just created so that I have the time to properly research it first.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
I generally don't change the privacy level, but I do get annoyed if I am actively working on a profile of which I am PM, by that I mean making changes within one or two days, and someone else swoops in and starts making wholesale changes on top of mine.  I consider it rude, not against the rules, just rude.  In order to show WikiTree love, I think it is important to check how active the PM is on that profile.  If a PM has worked on it in the past 90 days, I probably won't touch it.  If it is beyond that time, I will probably add sources.  If it was 2014, I figure it is fair game to make improvements.

And there are lots of profiles not touched since 2014!!

I actually have been opening up the privacy setting on profiles I manage, for the most part, but after starting a profile and in only a couple of hours have another member start to make changes as I was still figuring out which of the three family's with the same names the sources belonged to I increased the privacy level as a general rule until I can sort things out. In the past few months I have actually cut my watchlist by more than half and still cut more each day because I could not do the work needed to make the profiles as good as they could be and even with others making changes causing me to miss some I could remove I am only concerned about those created within a couple of days of others editing. Just this last weekend I made an error with one I created and in the process of fixing that error I discovered a large number of other profiles created years ago that had the same error. There are plenty of profiles that need work that are older so giving the manager a little time to work on a newly created profile should not be thought of as a hardship, and in my opinion,  but rather as being courteous.

I agree with you totally, Dale.  That is only being respectful.  WikiTree love should be foremost over our desire to improve profiles.
Eddie and Dale, I'm 100% with what both of you are saying.  Just one comment on Eddie's "I consider it rude, not against the rules, just rude" ...

Rude *is* against the rules ... it's a violation of the honor code, which represents our rules.
Its Edie, not Eddie, but you are right, Gaile.
Oh, Edie, I am soooooo sorry.  My only excuse is that it's early and I'm still about a pint low on caffeine.
Lol! I certainly get that!! I just wanted to clarify that I am a woman.

I keep my notables green-locked. I have added friends to the trusted lists. But I think of my creations as works of art. Images and text arranged in a way that delights the eye of the reader . And thanks to my beautiful Gaile Connolly, who, with great patience, taught me how to do that.

Hey, Eddie, mine aren't works of art, but I do work hard on many  profiles and take pride in the research I do.  I certainly don't appreciate it when someone takes over and either messes up the data or the sources.  If they add decently-reserched evidence, then I am happy.  I'm working on a couple of notables, but I'm still a plain facts kind of lady.

Any time you want a Notable glammed up, holler. I like making pretty purties

I like adding eye candy, too, but only wish I could do a better job of the meat in there.  I can never aspire to the ability to find sources that just cascade from Eddie's keyboard, seemingly effortlessly ... and now he does the eye candy, too - a true Renaissance kinda guy!

EDITED TO ADD:  Psst, Eddie - if you want a challenge, see if you can deal with the mysterious parents of Malinda (Cook) Weatherley - this is still one of the tangents, now far removed, from Maurice Britt.  I'm getting close to the end of my rope trying to find anything about her before her marriage (see comments in edit page for sources and possible ones) and THANX muchly, sweetheart!

I mook around on her tomorrow. Sleep now.
+10 votes

Well, sometimes it may feel as if you're stepping on toes, but really, unless you do that literally, in which case watch out for the kick in reaction, wink it's a bit of over-reaction on his part in my view.  

That said, it can be annoying if someone comes along while you're in the  middle of working on a profile and doing a full bio.  So definitely, check your dates when you want to add stuff, is the profile being built currently?

by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (701k points)
+5 votes
I don't mind help, even if it's on a profile newly created, because I'll double check what they did and incorporate it into my own style...The only thing that really bugs me is when the source is already there as an inline citation someone comes along and adds it as an additional source (have one "family member" who has done this to most of the profiles I manage"\) and keeps deleting the reference tag. Fortunately, the data doctors have caught the removed reference tag, in most cases, and put it back (thank you Data Doctors), When I asked the person to stop, I was given an explanation that people are lazy and don't know how to look for page numbers on their own (my version of his impolite response) and I got blocked because he didn't like me calling the second use of the source as redundant. Redundancy is redundancy, just like black is black and white is white.

But, after a couple of weeks, I got to thinking...this guy (who has not been using WikiTree for very long) has taken the time to get the links to the exact page and included person now I copy his link, replace my first page in the book link add the person number, delete his redundant post and move on. The key to collaborating on profiles is trying to work together and while I do NOT like his style and I hate redundancy when I'm reading something (or the implication that people are either stupid or lazy), there is a way to make it all work out in the end. While he may be rude (to my way of thinking), it's easier to just work around it rather than keep being bothered by it. Life is too short, and we all have way too much to do to make these profiles better to keep stressing over people's personalities. I know I'm a hard pill to swallow at times, so I have to be willing to take what I might inadvertently give (meaning I don't mean to, it just comes across that way). Just my two cents on the issue.
by T Counce G2G6 Mach 7 (75.0k points)

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