Using the Unsourced tag for unsourced portions of biographies

+3 votes
Hi there. I have been working on the sorcerers challenge for a few months and as I understand we remove the Unsourced tag when we add sources--even if it is only one primary or objective source.

I believe there is another school of thought where someone adds (or keeps) the Unsourced tag when a portion of the biography is unsourced: specifically a place name. This then keeps the biography in the search even if there are some or many sources present.  

What are your thoughts on this? Should I not remove "Unsourced | Ireland" for example if I do not see (or cannot find) any sources from Ireland?
in Policy and Style by Erin English Bailey G2G6 Mach 1 (19.0k points)

7 Answers

+16 votes
Best answer
In all previous discussions of cases like this the final verdict was "Unsourced" should only be used if there are no sources. If there is any source, good or bad, then the "Unsourced" template should be removed.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
selected by Eric Weddington
Do you differentiate between {{Unsourced}} and {{Unsourced | Ireland}} for example? Regardless of whether there is a qualifier, Unsourced would come up in a search.  An active volunteer told me that specifying in this way would point out that an Irish source was necessary.
Erin, the Ireland is just to help make it easier for us to find sources. In the end Unsourced is the key word and if you add a source the profile is no longer Unsourced so the template should be removed. As an example my grandfather was born in Scotland, raised in Quebec Canada, and lived most of his life in the United States. I have sources from Scotland and the United States so putting the template {{Unsourced | Canada}} on his profile would be wrong because his profile is sourced.
Ok, thanks for this. This is how I interpreted using the Unsourced template as well.
The best explanation for this topic can be found here

Thank you.  Someone has swooped in and marked a bunch of profiles unsourced that have large numbers of sources.  They do not manage these profiles.  It has been very annoying.  I will be removing all their added unsourced from profiles I manage, since seeing this post.

You might want to mention why in the edit comments and include the above link. I assume the changes were well intended misunderstanding of how this is used.

I Have no doubt it was well intended by someone who was exuberant in  wanting to helping make improvements. smiley

+11 votes
I really do not understand the reasoning behind leaving "Unsourced" on a profile when it is only "partially" sourced. This practice would lead to confusion because very few people, as I understand, follow that procedure. Do we need a new category for partially sourced or poorly sourced profiles? I think that has been discussed before on G2G but no change has ever been recommended. Personally I think one good source is sufficient to remove the Unsourced category.
by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (540k points)
I didn't really understand it either, but I got into an online discussion with an extremely active volunteer who operates this way, specifically in reference to place names. I assume(d) that they are not the only one.
+10 votes
If the group decides to go this direction, I would recommend that it be a separate tag not called unsourced. The current objective is to get a source on every profile. This takes it to a new level. I can see how it would help but it will distract from the first objective. At this time, I would recommend taking the time to fill in all the sources you see even if it bucks the competitive side of how many profiles moved from unsourced to sourced.
by Gurney Thompson G2G6 Pilot (495k points)
I agree; an alternate tag to differentiate a completely unsourced profile from one that could be improved.
+6 votes
Perhaps a new template "Partially Sourced" should be created.
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)
Lots of discussion on this topic relatively recently.

Actually, there's been a Profiles With Incomplete Sourcing category hierarchy for ages now. If you add one or more sources, but can't find sources for other important events, then slap that on there, and maybe somebody else will be able to complete the job.

That's terrifi! I did not know it even existed!  I am also glad there is a note on there:

Please do not apply this tag to any profile unless you are a Profile Manager for that profile. The goal of this tag is to let Sourcerers know that they have a Profile Manager's permission to add sources to a profile without checking with them first. If you think that a profile needs more sources, you can ask the Profile Manager if they're willing to add the tag, but don't add it to profiles you don't manage.

I appreciate Ross Haywood's comments:  "Please do not apply this tag to any profile unless you are a Profile Manager for that profile. The goal of this tag is to let Sourcerers know that they have a Profile Manager's permission to add sources to a profile without checking with them first. If you think that a profile needs more sources, you can ask the Profile Manager if they're willing to add the tag, but don't add it to profiles you don't manage."

+8 votes
I've occasionally used <ref> citation needed </ref>  which I believe may be preferred by WikiTree rather than  {{Citation needed}}


Would it be searchable though ?
by Joe Farler G2G6 Pilot (154k points)
{{citation needed}} would be more effective if it generated a category like Sources Needed.
It doesn't *say* putting it in refs is preferred.  The note at the top just says Chris was *wondering.*
+7 votes

I probably am the only one on this, but I don't understand why we have Unsourced at all.  Ok, maybe for completely unsourced profiles, like from an early gedcom import, but otherwise, why is it used at all?  indecision

Why don't the people who post these Unsourced templates just do the research and  add a good source?  It is like someone in the house saying, "Someone needs to walk the dog."  or "Someone needs to do the dishes."  Work doesn't care who does it, it is still work, even when it is enjoyable work.  Why make lists of profiles that need improvement?  Probably 18 million of our profiles could use improvement with better sources.  cool

by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (660k points)
I sometimes wonder the same thing about just finding the sources, but then
speak from the other side where I sourced 100 profiles someone had taken the time to tag and make up the category of Unsourced New York profiles in July.
It makes my job easier having a list, even if less than 50% of them have
sources I can find and remove from the list.  It is probably easier for each of us to do "our own thing".  I don't go scanning anywhere else to find the
profiles I am working on from this list.
Kitty, I agree with you. If I find a profile with no sources I always try and find a source first. Only on the rare profile that I can not find ANY source do I add the unsourced template, qualifier or not. Sometimes another might be able to find that I could not. I remember when I was working on my grandfathers family from Scotland and I had help from someone who found a lot more than I ever could and helped a lot.
A lot of people do try to find sources first. Sometimes what you have is someone’s GEDCOM upload that references itself as a source. Marking a bunch as unsourced makes them available to others to help.

Having a way to mark that more sources are needed gets around the problem that a single unsourced and largely fictional tree on Ancestry is considered sufficient source to remove the Unsourced indicator.

Why do I put the Unsourced template on profiles instead of sourcing them myself?

  • The person lived in a country or time period that I don't have the knowledge to source well (or at all).
  • They're in a time & place I'm familiar with, but I don't find a source on a quick search, and I don't have enough time in this WT session to investigate more deeply.
  • I ran across the profile while working on another project that I need to stay focused SQUIRREL! on. I have trouble with going off on tangents as I find interesting related people ("look, none of this person's twelve siblings are sourced either!"), and sometimes I have to tell myself no, I'm not pursuing sources for that person right now; I'm getting back to the main project.
In these cases, the Unsourced template at least makes it easier for someone else to find and source the unsourced profile, especially if I can add a location.
Sure, when I have the time and can find sources, I'll source it instead of just tagging it unsourced. But if I can't, at least I can make the profile easier for a Sourceror to find.
Like Me!  Thank you for making an easier job for sourcerers like me.
+3 votes
I believe there are categories, considered maintenance categories that cover some situations. e.g. Needs Research, Biography Needs Improvement etc. And some uncertain "facts" are flagged by things like Birth year is estimate template. I can't recall the actual wording. If there was a big problem with partial sourcing then perhaps having some of these categories display a stcker or template might nake them stand out. But I think there are plenty of completely unsourced profiles to work on that should take priority. I know that after completing sourcing challenges I and others go back to the ones we did and try and add extra sources because it is often easier when you've already been delving into their backgrounds to do so.

Sorry for tbe ramble. Hard to type on my phone and think straight while on a bumpy train.
by Lianne Trevarthen G2G6 Mach 4 (47.6k points)

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