Goodman Frauds surfacing again

+17 votes
623 views
I am removing "unsourced" categories from a string of fraudulent "Irish" Goodman profiles ahead of the up-coming source-a-thon. Why expect volunteers to waste time scratching their heads over these highly inventive fabrications? PLEASE - isn't it time they were deleted from Wikitree?
WikiTree profile: Mason Martin
in Policy and Style by Valerie Willis G2G6 Mach 7 (74.8k points)
recategorized by Jillaine Smith
I second that. These "Goodman" profiles even surfaced in the Connectors space page as needing a connection (in spite of the space page managers' vigilance), when getting them Connected is precisely the last thing we would want.
So, I third that.

Stuff like that is a blemish on the public face of WikiTree.
A fourth 'aye'. See my comment below
Maggie - these profiles were identified and categorized last year - there are well over 2000 of them entered by one or other of a married couple, one of whom remains active here.
I just posted an answer to this thread - we've set up the Disproven Existence Adjunct that will be adopting (quarantining) these profiles.  If anyone is interested in volunteering to help move them, please PM me.
I'm in
Thank you!

5 Answers

+19 votes
 
Best answer
I may be opening up a huge can of worms with this suggestion, but ...

Maybe we need a frauds project that could become manager of fictional profiles such as this one.  That would help keep watch over them.

Just as we have exceptions to the rule that profiles can only be for people, in order to have profiles for things like EditBot and projects, perhaps we need an exception to privacy rules and allow fraudulent profiles to have green privacy.  Right now, I am apprehensive that anyone could come along and adopt Mason Martin and write a flowing fairy tale all because they found it on the internet, so it must be true.
by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (836k points)
selected by SJ Baty
I was wondering about that Gaile, why have they never been profile protected and locked?

Valerie, I'm far from a guru on old profiles.  I don't even have pre-1700 certification because I don't think I know enough to work on those, so my answer to your question about protection and locks is not necessary a good one, but I'll try:

  • They can't be profile protected unless they belong to a project.
  • They must be open if they meet the born or died before date criteria.

 

Darned good idea.  If you delete them, they will just be recreated again and again.  If they are preserved, when a new profile is created, it can be merged into the existing profile that has all the warnings, bells, and whistles.
Gaile, profiles in projects often have different rules that are more stringent.  Perhaps they can't be locked but project protection and a huge warning at the top of the profile will go a long way towards preventing the creation of duplicates.
duplicate post
I agree with Gaile. If they could be project-protected, it might help.  It's worth a try.
I tried to project-protect a few of them. I gave up. They must be adopted one by one, it's an enormous amount of work and there are 2500 of them.

The reason I want them deleted is I am overcome with shame each time I get into them (did you read the bios? See the pictures that are attached to them? Did you see the level of detail they have, for instance mentioning strings of children dead in infancy, with names, for families living in the 12th century no one has heard about?). They are not good for WikiTree.

Isabelle, I don't know what project's protection you extended to the ones you did, but these really don't belong in any serious project, unless maybe some project wants to take them on as a sub-project.

As to the size of the task, many hands make small work.  If someone creates a project for them then everyone who joins the project can work together ... oops, is it only project managers who can slap PPP on them?  If it's also coordinators then make all project members coordinators so they have the power to do it.  Come to think of it, this would be a good job for EditBot - set it loose to PPP all project profiles after they've been added to the project. 

Gaile, they were entered in the Disproven Existence Project. I have since removed them. The project does not have many hands, is limited to a watch list of 5000 like any other account and clogging it with 2500 profiles from the get-go would be unfair. Orphaned profiles can be adopted then added to the project by anyone, but it's long and repetitive work. I really got tired after a few dozen - in effect barely making a dent.

Sorry for sounding frustrated - I really just wish I could have all the hours spent trying to find ways to make these profiles as harmless as possible back. I won't have these hours back; so the only solution is to spend as little time as possible on them from now on. There's only ever been two other people really helping with this.
I understand your frustration all too well, Isabelle.  There are a few things here that drive me up the walls - and for the same reason as it gets to you - the wanton waste of my time that they cause.

I'll offer to help if you can find something I can do without pre-1700 certification - please let me know.
Thant is so kind of you Gaile, thank you! But this will have to be settled with the next volunteer who decides to take this problem on.
I understand your frustration, Isabelle.
I just posted an answer to this thread - we've set up the Disproven Existence Adjunct that will be adopting (quarantining) these profiles.  If anyone is interested in volunteering to help move them, please PM me.
+10 votes
If you delete them, they will just return as duplicates.  It is better to template them as proven fraud and keep them to serve as a reference.

Gaile's suggestion to create a project to manage them is a great idea.
by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
Why? Ask them.

How do we know? We don't know. But I hope after having lost dozens of precious hours to this fabrication, I am entitled to my opinion.

How do you know that keeping the profiles (and trust me, they will never go) is what prevents duplicates from being created?

Duplicates for other known frauds are re-created regularly, even though the corresponding profiles are kept. There was a slew of profiles for the fake French ancestors of Davy Crockett that had to be merged just a few weeks ago. What with all the spelling variants, dates a few years off, "Search for matches" does not even pick them up. And you'll admit it's hard to fix on a correct LNAB spelling and precise dates for the profile of someone who didn't exist.
In that case, SJ, someone has to volunteer to do this work. It won't be me.
If I show up as a new person, with my fantasy, fake, fraudulent, Gedcom, that I don't know is fake, and I upload it, did I do anything wrong?  Nope.  If I even have fake sources, I have not violated the honor code.

And so, you may see fraudulent lines come back again and again.  In 10 years, we may be having this same conversation.

If, on the other hand, all of these profiles exist, are PPP, and have a huge warning banner "hot, don't touch," and a newbie comes in and starts creating duplicates, he/she will see this and will start to ask why.  Or, they will select the existing profile to link to their tree.  When we see one of these PPP profiles getting "linked" to some new tree, we'll know that it has come up again and you can quash it right away.

Delete them all and you won't know until RJ notices that the 400th profile looks fishy...

"Duplicates for other known frauds are re-created regularly, even though the corresponding profiles are kept. There was a slew of profiles for the fake French ancestors of Davy Crockett that had to be merged just a few weeks ago. What with all the spelling variants, dates a few years off, "Search for matches" does not even pick them up. And you'll admit it's hard to fix on a correct LNAB spelling and precise dates for the profile of someone who didn't exist."

If the old ones are deleted, and new ones are added, how does anyone know they are fake unless they monitor that line?  If there is a profile for Davey Spavey Crocket, born 1800, known fraud, and then you see Davie Spavie Crockett, born before 1800, new profile, and someone initiates a merge, you don't even have to talk about the merge, you just do it, delete the new profile, and add aka Crockett.

I understand your angst.  I just want to prevent the next generation of Wikitreers from having to go through what you went through.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

No reason to broadcast the stuff.  There should be a privacy level of unlisted unless logged-in.

As regards a watchlist, taking over the creator's account and giving her a new one might have been an idea.  Then the bot would have had something to work with.
If there is a volunteer to monitor the fake lines, that is great. (we'd need a lot of them, but one would be a start).

"No reason to broadcast the stuff.  There should be a privacy level of unlisted unless logged-in."

I see every reason to broadcast them.  If you don't how will unsuspecting holders of these trees know they are fake?  So long as they are locked and labelled as fake, what harm is there?  Ancestry shows the tree as real, we show it as fake.  Certainly lends credibility to this platform.

"If there is a volunteer to monitor the fake lines, that is great. (we'd need a lot of them, but one would be a start)."

If project owned and managed, a new familial link to the profile and/or a merge request would certainly send a signal that someone is trying to re-enter this line again - or any other future fraudulent line.

That is correct in the case of a number of frauds I have worked on in the past.

One has to be really very unspecting to think that a 13th century Will in Wales or Ireland, mentioning what to do with the dozens of "Negro slaves" (sic) of the "Plantation", is legit.
Or simply not well educated, Isabelle.  I don't mean that nastily. For example, I've just been amazed at how many people don't know that Virginia was not part of New England.
+6 votes

I agree with Isabelle really, we've been dealing with the Collineau de Montaguerre fantasy women repeatedly.  Who keep showing up in various places in France, mothers to alllll sorts of people.  

There needs to be an additional technical gizmo attached to the profiles that are tagged with the fantasyland categories, they need to be blocked from ever being copied elsewhere.  I've imported stuff from Wikitree to my tree when I was using MyHeritage, they offer such for free in their smart matching function (hope they pay Wikitree for the privilege).  Then I came to Wikitree and imported my GEDCOM here, some of them showed the source as being from Wikitree.  Duh!  I'm sure you get the picture.

So please, Ales or whoever, can a function be added to the disproven existence categories so they cannot be taken from Wikitree to show up elsewhere?  Otherwise, keeping them creates a mechanism for perpetuating them in a bad way.

by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (345k points)
When you're on MH importing stuff from WikiTree, presumably that's just the database, not the bios, so you don't get to see any messages about frauds and fakes?
lord RJ, it's been years since I used MyHeritage, I don't remember what all came with the import from Wikitree, but no, wasn't a lot of data.

I believe the photo is imported to MH. Correct me if I'm wrong. If the primary photo of the fraudulent profiles is changed to the fraud image that Liz Shifflett created, would there be no way to miss the message.

no photos were imported to MH, that I am sure of, what got imported were basic name and BMD data.  Don't think there were sources imported other than ''WikiTree''.
+8 votes

The Disproven Existence Adjunct Project has been set up.  It will be taking the vast majority of the Goodman profiles and will, for all intents and purposes, quarantine them so that if they pop up again, they can be easily spotted.

We are looking for some free hands to help migrate the Goodman profiles into the project account - if anyone is interested, please PM me.  It is an EASY way to hit your 1k for the month, I hit mine in 2 days, I think Caryl in 24 hours.

by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
SJ, I'm not pre-1700 certified, but if that does not impede me from helping, count me in and PM me about it.
Hurray!
Gaile, I believe that some profiles are post-1700 but a lot are pre.  I'll send you details shortly.

Maybe time to get that certification!

A suggestion for minimizing future appearances of all these ''people'' would be to prevent GEDCOM imports of any profile prior to x date, maybe 1700 would be a good cut-off date.   That way they simply won't get uploaded again, saves time and effort for everybody.  Any legitimate profiles prior to those dates can be entered manually.

Goodman has raised ;his ugly head again on a PGM "gateway" profile (Tobias Saunders). This led me back into time to this thread. Wondering about the status of this project. Thanks.

Project is alive and well; it just didn't have anything to do lately.  If there is a fire to put out, I have an extinguisher wink

Do you have a link to the profile?

Saunders-35

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