Do you have feedback on the Source-a-Thon?

+19 votes
Hi WikiTreers!

So I thought the Source-a-Thon was a great success. This was definitely my favorite one we've had thus far and the numbers were amazing! (See the wrap-up report here:

But like with anything there is always room for improvement so we are looking for your feedback.

What did you like/not like about the Source-a-Thon?

What would you change?

Do you have ideas on things we can add to make it better?

Do you like having teams? Could we change anything there?

Would it be helpful to have one place for everyone in your team to chat?

Please share your thoughts and suggestions! Thanks!
in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
Thanks, Eowyn.

Regarding ideas to make it better, I'm most interested in hearing ideas on how we can get more people involved. How do we get more members to register for the event, and how do we encourage more active participation among those that do register?
I heard from more than one person who was put off by the competition in itself. They felt the push to source as many profiles as possible was detracting from quality.

Perhaps having more slow-speed teams, or a better communication around those teams, would be the answer? Something more in the spirit of 'Let's focus on community sourcing for a weekend", with less emphasis on the statistics? I'm not sure how this could be achieved because a few teams did communicate on their relaxed approach. Yet for some the impression from the sidelines was that it's a "speed contest".

This is not a criticism of the high-powered teams, just a comment that different things will suit different people :-)
I guess I’m not very bright, but it wasn’t at all clear to me what I was supposed to do, other than to source profiles. I received an email with my participant number, but that was it. Where were these hangouts that everyone is talking about?

Tangentially related - sourcing profiles on WikiTree is the most tedious thing ever. I’ve been spoiled by the find/verify/attach interfaces of and (which, I fully realize, have vastly greater resources brought to bear). But attaching a source to a profile needs to be vastly easier. Perhaps a browser extension would work? addresses most of your questions Brian. As far as hangouts, you need to have a gmail email and then hangouts is an associated chat feature.
Hi Chris,

I do not know about other teams but my team, Legacy Heirs, got hit with a lot of unforseeable issues. We would have had easily double or triple the participation but just were unable to. Many on my team are hoping for a better year next year.

That is a great idea. Legacy Heirs is based around you are at your pace, your places, etc. I know I got one member because of that. He wanted to source at a slower pace and when he saw that was our policy, he chose us right away.

We had a whole range and with less issues hitting our members, we would have had a better numbers total because everyone was comfortable with their place.

At the top of the page you signed up on, was a link for the help page. Most of the links

Your team page should also have had the steps and answers. That would also have been a great page to ask any questions.

If you still have questions, I am not sure I can answer all, but if you messge me from my page, I will try to help so next year you are more ready.
I was a beginner and found that asking questions I got most of my answers that I needed.   The only thing was the hangouts being a different time zone, I only made it to one of them and just at the end of a couple others.  I would have liked our team Captain to have had more information within our team and also have each team member converse throughout the weekend on how things were going.  Other than introductions, I didn't see anyone post after that.

I am impressed with the numbers that were sourced.  The challenge tracker only gave me one point per person where I may have found 2-4 sources per person.  And there is no way to say how many you failed at getting any information but tried.   Otherwise, for my first experience, I am quite happy.
Would have liked to have been able to do more, but the weekend fell on Grandparents Day and I had family stuff to attend.
I really enjoyed the Source-a-thon.  This was my second one.

I don't know if this is easily done, but if  profiles that were already have been sourced could be marked some how.

I understand that maybe not everyone likes the competition, but I think it is motivating. I like to know how the team is doing compared to other teams. Also, how I am doing personally. If I could look at something and find out I have 5 more profiles before I reach 100, I would stay online and complete the 5 profiles. If this list of teams and individuals might be available for everyone that would be great.

Again, it was great fun!

30 Answers

+16 votes

Hi Eowyn, here are my thoughts:

What did you like/not like about the Source-a-Thon?

I loved the friendliness, the community spirit, the fun, and the new timings for the weekend. 

What would you change?

I would remove one of the early morning Hangouts so you can get some sleep!

Do you have ideas on things we can add to make it better?

Honestly? Not really. I thought it was fantastic and you did an awesome job.

Do you like having teams? Could we change anything there?

Loved having teams. Loved having them capped at 20. Loved hanging out with my team. Was great fun.

Would it be helpful to have one place for everyone in your team to chat? 

Yes and we do. Am happy for that to be more structured moving forward. I'd recommend it to anyone!

Thanks, Eowyn :-)

by Susie MacLeod G2G6 Pilot (212k points)
+22 votes
Teams should be of approximately equal size. I know that people sign up then realize that they can't do much that weekend, whatever the reason. It's still better to have a specific cut-off number before a new team should be broken-off. (Like the Nor'Easters and the Roses had two teams under one umbrella.)

Recruitment messages on profile pages get out of hand sometimes and I don't think they should be allowed. Recruit in G2G and advertise your team but leave it at that please.

Asking that team members should "source ahead" is not in the spirit of the competition and sours me on competition at all. I realize we're trying to source here, but this year I did slow it down myself. I used inline sourcing and wrote a standard bio rather than just inserting a source in a list. I checked the profiles for errors, because ...why should I have to return to this profile during the Clean a Thon? My number still put me in the top 60 for the weekend, and I feel like I did a good job.(I don't expect everyone to feel the need to do this, but the more of us that do, the more profiles get improved.)

All of that said, I thank all of the folks who run the SAT. You do go above and beyond.
by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (575k points)
I agree with recruitment, I only ever posted on their profiles when they were in my team last year.

I sourced ahead a week prior, but I understand where you are coming from - to those who don't have time prior and then we are intentionally leaving unsourced profiles when we are sourcing ahead.
Well, going to people from your team from last year is not what I'm talking about! :-)  You already have a relationship with those folks.

Thank you, Sarah, for saying that about sourcing ahead. :-)

I know haha smiley

Great post Natalie and goes inline with my thoughts. I feel the sourcing ahead is like stacking the deck. It also affects the spirit of "in the moment" competition.

Some discussions have occured where people are complaining that some of the sources added weren't quite right - if you looked deeper. I added a source that on the face was perfect that ended up not being so perfect so it has been removed.

Quality should rule the day, every day at WikiTree.

I should probably revisit mine too.
Just so you know, recruiting in G2G is forbidden except as a comment in the actual Source-a-thon post. And since the actual post has so few relevant tags, many people don't even see them. Tags are important ways to get people to see things. using only 1 or 2 narrows your reach.
I loved the Source-a-Thon, the competition, the fun and the team spirit. And yes I sourced in preparation. Whilst doing so I tidied up the profiles, cleaning up merges and gedcoms and correcting errors. I wrote short biographies with inline sources that could easily be pasted into a profile. The profiles that I sourced towards the end of the weekend after I ran out of prepared sources were not left quite so clean and tidy and I have a list of the worst ones that I intend to go back to and clean up.  

I can hear what you say about people not having time to prepare, but surely that is why we have teams. Some of my team did not prepare either. There was no pressure on us to do so. A team is about having a mixture of time ability and skills and each person doing what is right for them. Its also about learning together and working together. Most of all its about making friends and having fun together whilst improving out shared family tree.

I know that if had not worked prior to the source-a-thon, I would not have improved as many profiles and the ones that I would have worked on over the weekend would not have been left in as good a condition.

We should not change anything. Thank you Eowyn and your team for all the work organising and making the weekend such a success.
If you are spending the time "preparing" why not just add the sources at that time? It seems strange to me to do the work and not add it because there is a competition coming up.
The competition is the incentive to do more than you usually would. Also being part of a team means you do not want to let you team members down. Just my opinion. I know it might not be right for everyone. Each to their own!

I agree!  I think you and I are on the same page with the answer I just posted as well. :)



I agree Natalie about the sourcing ahead. The idea of competition is doing it at the time of the challenge. When we Roses prepped we practiced on how we sourced and such. Prepping doesn't include sourcing ahead in my book.
I agree with that! I prepped by looking over a bunch of profiles I might work on from one closed account that had a watchlist of over 26,000, mostly unsourced. Most of the profiles had lower case used in place fields, too, and many had green privacy. The profiles were opened and orphaned when the member left WikiTree.

 I had been in contact with that user several times during data doctoring, and had sent messages asking the member to correct this or that. Never got one response and the member never corrected a thing. I have the contribution list, and I've been going through it, trying to correct the fields (since the member left, many of the lower case place fields have been corrected!), source, etc.I had plenty to keep me busy, and had ME records open to search familysearch in tabs. lol.That was my prepping.
Yeah I tried the week before to get my One Name Study profiles in my special unsourced category for each name that needed it so I'd have quick areas to look to first. LOL
+15 votes
I love the Source-a-Thon, I think it's a blast and I always make new friends!

One of the biggest things was keeping in touch with the team, while we have the G2G chat, it doesn't actually notify them of a new post. Not sure how we'd do this, a Google group?

Also, I'd love to know the secrets of those who racked in so many profiles sourced! haha
by Sarah Rojas G2G6 Mach 8 (88.2k points)
Hahaha, yeah I probably need to do that too. I am better about tabs now because it can really eat away at your computer and I have destroyed my fair share of laptops.

I personally use Firefox, which has always been my favorite. :)
I wish I liked Firefox more. I know they just did an overhaul recently, so I should try it again. It's like trying to move your checking account to a new bank, though. So much work to switch browsers!! lol
Chrome automatically throttles back the memory requirements of inactive tabs. If it isn't used for a few, the memory gets scavanged and when clicked on it refreshes. This doesn't happen with multiple windows and active tabs.

As far as tips and tricks, I have a tab on the spreadsheet called INFO. Use it, add to it, help the rest of us find things.

The spreadsheet also has a built-in chat everyone shares btw. If your email has been put in and it knows who you are, chat is available. It just isn't group specific.
I would have loved to have had team chats.  I was unaware there was a google hangout for us to use.
Hi, Sheryl!

It's kind of a team-by-team setup. So, if your team captains want to set up a Google Hangout, they are welcome to do that.

It's something to keep in mind for the future if your team didn't have it this time, and if your team captain isn't aware of how to do that, let them know the option is available. If they need help any of us that have used them in the past can help. It's a really fun way to communicate. :-)
Thanks Julie.  I actually put "google hangouts" on my IPad to see what it is all about.  Turns out everyone I know with gmail accounts show up like Messenger.  I do think it would definitely be an added benefit for the next year Source A Thon.   In the meantime, happy sourcing for yourself.


Can you please post a link to the website where I can find this?

Thank you.
Hi, Rick ...

Sure ... just go here:

I use gmail, so I already have an email account that works with this. If you don't use gmail, I'm not sure whether or not you'll have to set up a gmail account.

It is a fun way to stay in touch, though. I use it all day long to talk to my (adult) children and other friends and family using the text portion. We also use video chat to talk to our daughter who is away at school.

And we've used it quite a bit to do project work here at WikiTree when talking face-to-face is more convenient.
Julie Ricketts,

My mistake on my request.  Can you please post a link to the website for the Memory CleanClean app.  I tried Google but could not find it.


Ohh! smiley

Here you go:

+14 votes
It was a great sense of camaraderie and community. Teams were great.

Google hangouts worked really well for team communication.

I have seen some grumbling about poor sources added; perhaps everyone should be required to complete a source certification (very much like the pre1700) prior to SAT.

It would be great if there was a template that could identify those profiles that don't qualify as {{Unsourced}} but do qualify for SAT or monthly sourcing.
by Kay Sands G2G6 Pilot (260k points)

A lot of new comers join the Source-a-Thon that don't know proper sourcing. I did see some poor sourcing as well that will need to be fixed. 

enlightenedMaybe we can have a form for the Source-a-thon where they pick a team, get asked simple questions about sourcing, and then when they finish it they get assigned a number (and the badge) automatically preventing the need to have to manually do it (if that can be done).

I wrote this as a trainer with a link to the 2017 video.

It was posted in many locations. Maybe we need a special category for "Training pages". I know if a greeter had given me this back when I started, I would have haunted it. I know this seems like just a remake of the help section but I think it would allow more flexibility to reach people.
Kay, what type of profiles are you thinking of for that category? I mark 'Unsourced' if there is only a family tree on the profile, as that still fits the requirement for the SAT.

Thank you Steven for linking the primer. That would be good for teams to post on their page before the SAT starts next year. I came across several profiles that had one source, no corrections to dates to match, and/or errors such as no minimal headings (Bio,Sources,Ref's). I went ahead and fixed them even though it didn't count towards my totals. I suppose I could have made a list to work on after the SAT, but didn't want non-participants to be upset by those poor additions.


There is a gray area between profiles that qualify for the {{Unsourced}} template per WikiTree rules (e.g., no sources per WikiTree source definition) and those that qualify for sourcing challenges. Unfortunately. 

See one of many discussions at

Team Captains could take the responsibility of making sure their team members are up to speed on how to best source. We made an attempt at that on our team, but I'm sorry to say I wasn't able to follow up with each and every team member. I'll try to do better for the Clean-a-thon. :-)
It was my understanding the decision was made that if you went to the unsourced category ANY in the second box counted in the S-A-T. If you did a group that was a family the others were at your own risk. is the one for Maine.
Thank you for the link Kay.
Hi Steven, I just looked at your tutorial.  Wow, I wished I had seen that before the Source A Thon.  It would have been quite beneficial knowing about the Root Search button to use for my sourcing.  Thanks for sharing and I have it bookmarked for my own reference now.   Sheryl
+11 votes


I had fun and sourced some interesting unsourced profiles.  A few ideas:

1)  When there is an obvious problem in a profile, can we post the information for the Marathon so others can review it later?

Ex:  Obediah Abbott(1697-1771) had several children, all surnamed Abbott, all born between 1723 and 1734.  Abigail Moffat, b. 1729, Moffat-52, was most likely NOT one of his daughters.  I've sourced Abigail  based on her marriage to Private Ebenezer Roby & and the birth of their son, but I do not believe she was the daughter of Obediah Abbott.  I posted a comment on her profile; could we have a drop off point requesting further research?

2) Please let me know how to make it easier to get to the Link for Unsourced Massachusetts, or New Hampshire, or whatever.  The only path I've figured out takes about seven steps and it becomes tiresome; however, it's always accurate.

This is valuable and fun, and I was glad to take part.  Regards, Janine


by Janine Barber G2G6 Pilot (144k points)

Hey Janine, 

We do have categories already for that if you look in the Maintenance Categories, there is one for "Needs Research" ... you can enter [[Category: Needs Research]] right above the Biography header to add any profile to that category.

As for those unsourced profiles, I have links for the states I was working on. Mississippi Unsourced Profiles - this one for example and I think you can change the state and that'll work.

ETA: Instructions on adding category to a profile ... sorry to barge in, Sarah! blush -- Julie

@Janine -- There should have been a report posted to your team's free-space page with links to the profiles that were unsourced. Otherwise, if you want to use the categories, I suggest using your browser's bookmark functionality to save pages you return to often. Also, lots and lots of browser tabs. Lots. haha.
Funny you should ask that. You know, I have this spreadsheet (yeah, I know I mention it a lot) and it has this tab called "UNSOURCED" which links directly to every country, state, and province. It also has a "SUGGESTIONS" tab that does the same for suggestion types. That one doesn't link to individual states though.
@Julie - thanks I realized I put that in wrong hahaha
+14 votes
I didn’t join a team this year as I was unsure in advance how available I might be and did not want to handicap a team by having a low count.

One thing you might consider for the instructions next time is that when adding a source we should also check that the appropriate facts from the source are in the bio. I saw several examples where someone had updated a profile before I got to it by just dropping in a source and leaving an empty bio.
by Lynda Crackett G2G6 Pilot (623k points)
A low count for sourcing is still a count and would do nothing but help a teams overall numbers! Source on Lynda - I was at a conference, doing hangouts and still had sketchy internet after some nasty storms here, two weeks ago. I think my contribution was only around 12.

I did do some Mags. Just came into the count of those hanging in mid-air and not in a team.
+16 votes
One of the ways to source in the thousands LOL is to use censuses almost exclusively.  That way, you might find 7 people on one census as opposed to 1 person on a birth/baptism source.  Imagine if you found a set of parents with twelve children!

Census = 7 people = 1 source seven times

Birth = 1 person = 1 source once
by Ros Haywood G2G6 Pilot (815k points)
That's what I was doing, Ros! Makes for some effective sourcing!

I also added location categories from the censuses. That slowed me down some, but using WikiTree X brought the info in really quickly and made it go faster.
I do that often. I get a census or two, add it to every family member. BINGO. Sometimes that is 10 with one source!

I also try to add other sources to each of the other, but that slows you down. lol.
I wish WikiTree X was available for Firefox... :(((((((
That is all well and good but I try to go out of my way to click THEIR name in that census. That gives a citation targeted to THEM. I don't just copy the same census 7 times. It is one census, 7 people, 7 unique citations.

(it is however only 1 search)
I do that too Steven, especially with the FamilySearch links. I always like to put, for example (if I'm making my own citations, but FamilySearch does this already); Jane Doe in household of John Doe.
I recently had my computer stop letting me copy anyone in the census after the first one was copied.   I got a sketch of a sad sack holding his plug and a notice that firefox could not find the server for familysearch, the only rootsearch website I use.  I asked for help in G2G and none of the responses helped.  My computer teacher in our seniors class at the library thought it was my local server, since it worked at the library but not at my home.   I called and they told me I needed to upgrade to generation 5 from my 3.   Saturday morning, in the middle of the SAT
I was shut down for the upgrade.   How happy did that make me feel?  I
was delighted when he was done because, again, I could use one census listing and use it for everyone on the census.  Like you, I prefer
to individually get a source for each person, before the upgrade I just used the head of household for each person on the list.  It does slow
down the pace for each individual but I personally think it is a matter of quality.  I didn't feel good using just one reference for everyone.  Maybe
that contributed to the fact that I only sourced 73 profiles but felt satisfied I had done the best I could and went on my merry way,

*Of course* I click on their name to get their personal citation.  Still makes it quicker than searching for seven different birth sources. wink

Actually for BMD sources you usually get three or even six persons to sourcing: The person who is baptized and its parents, the two persons who are married and their parents, and the person who died and its parents. There is the sourcing category: "Prove of relationship". That's what I did often. Saw one record, checked if the parents of the person were unsourced and then sourced the parents with the record about their child.

Good tip Ros smiley

+14 votes
Well, I have this spreadsheet that oh wait, this is my opinion section. Sorry. LOL

1. clear rules ahead of time.

2. team size shouldn't matter. A better gauge for a contest is "total sourced" divided by "total on team". This gauges team participation and allows large and small teams to compete evenly.

3. Either use more tags to reach more people or have "Announcements" an automatic 21st tag only used by team/ leaders. This would mean anyone using tags in G2G would automatically get every announcement displayed.

4 A Singular team advertisement post. This could be part of their chat post. This will enable teams to target who they reach. Yes, it might be abused, but anything can be abused if you try hard enough. Because we were forced to advertise in comments, people kept trying to post entries in comments.

5 Avoid last minute decisions. I was deliberately trying to avoid splitting the team in half but sort of arrived there in spite of it. Many new people would feel better on a larger team with more support and the drawbacks would be mitigated by suggestion 2.

I could think of more but I think these are the most relevant ones.
by Steven Tibbetts G2G6 Pilot (239k points)
Oh I like that dividing thing for the sourcing and teams! Will definitely give a more accurate reading of how the teams did if their team was smaller (like mine).
and haha you and that spreadsheet
I REALLY like the idea of dividing total sourced by # of team members. That’s fantastic!
I love the sourced # divided by the sourcers, that is an awesome idea!!!
At least one of my suggestions was popular. LOL
+13 votes
In the 90's I was in a competitive league. We had new people, intermediate, advanced and masters (experts).

It wouldn't be fair to put masters in matches with newcomers. And so a points system was set up. You start as a beginner, "D" class. As your time to complete increased, you were raised to the next level in the next match. 10 seconds or longer, you remained a D class . From D to "Master's Class."

The Master's were the big kids in the meets and everyone strived for Master Class. Once you scored to a higher level, you were forever in that class for scoring in future meets.

Playing the LA Dodgers against a Little League team wouldn't be fair, or fun. All the kids would quit. By giving out awards in each league encourages competition.

I suppose I  could have sourced 400 profiles. For what? Instead, I sourced some of my own ancestors, and folks in projects I'm working, doing great leads and developed their profiles. I was able to link 5x and 6x great grandparents in one line and discovered a new maiden name.

I recommend that we segregate participants into classes and award best of class for each ranking. Maybe divide the participants into 5 groups of 20% : the top 20% of participants in the A class, second 20% in B class and so on.

And I think we should consider doing the same with the teams, separate them into A, B, C level teams or limit each team to so many A, B, or C participants.

I considered forming a team with a few cousins, but why? We don't have the time to get to the level of the Noreasters. If there is no win, most will do.a few a few and pick up their sticker. If I'm competing against people who have the same 8 hours that I do, then I'm game. How does someone who works all weekend going to compete with a retired person with fast internet?
by SJ Baty G2G6 Pilot (748k points)
I agree with the point that a lot people (like me) were discouraged with those people who did so many profiles sourced. I think doing something like this could help with participation as well.

Also, you have those teams that work on profiles that are harder to source so they won't get as many done.
2 points.

See my suggestion 2 in the answer above yours. Small teams could still compete.

Dividing the teams into classes makes more seasoned people training newer people less likely. It also turns it more into a numbers game. If your team score is based on your team average of active participants, you would definitely help a teammate that only does 5 profiles.

At least the random draw for prizes helps diminish the drive to only go for the highest numbers.
Yeah I still agree that the dividing number sourced between number of people is probably is the best idea! But we could have teams that are more geared towards beginners that need more help.

The random drawings are definitely the best way to go, I had a team member ask about that because she was worried she wouldn't win anything because she wouldn't be able to outsource people.
Almost ALL teams that are participating should be beginner friendly. This will of course lower the total averages. This will also help to balance things so really tough teams like Musty Dusty which requires more seasoned people will still have a chance to compete. Obviously THEY can't be beginner friendly.
Seasoned team 1 has a dozen people who always source in the hundreds of profiles.

Team two is a dozen people who just signed on to WT and/or have 3 hours to contribute because of work & kids.  Team average will be 20 profiles.

How does that even out anything?

You want to even it out, draw participants, at random, to teams. Or have a draft.

Averages don't work when it's the Mets versus Jennings Elementary Pee Wees.
Regarding the drawings, I'm on WT more than the average person, I participated and I have no idea how the prizes were awarded, what the were, and who got them.

I'm sure it's out there but I didn't see it and it didn't motivate me.

Just my .02 cents worth.
Good point SJ - I think people should be able to pick their own teams though, because a lot of them are location based (even though you don't need to necessarily source in those locations for it to count). And some people want to join the hobby based teams like the Knitting one.
Averages work if the Mets use a group from West Rockford elementary and Jennings Elementary gets people from the Boston Red Sox.
I had a LOT of newcomers to WikiTree and newcomers to the SAT this year. Most of them did better than the more seasoned people! So assuming a newbie can't source and putting them in a "lower" bracket doesn't make sense to me.

Also, as Steven mentioned, by putting seasoned people and newbies together, the newbies learn more about WikiTree and sourcing in general. We do a lot of training on our team.
+14 votes

1) Clearer rules ahead of time would be appreciated. The number of team members allowed on a team makes it difficult to know how to manage recruitment and team splits. I would much prefer having one large team and using the points by members number to determine the winner. Then we don't have to worry about team size for anyone. 

2) Again clearer rules--As I have always understood the monthly Sourcerers Challenge and the Source A Thon is about showing up and showing how well and how many profiles you can source on the fly.  This is why it is called a challenge/competition. 

Allowing people to source ahead (even though it is NOT stated in the rules to do so) is not fair play. 

If we want as many profiles sourced as possible filled with as many sources as possible then there needs to be a separate challenge or the SAT needs to be changed. There is absolutely no point in participating in a challenge like this when some teams are showing up with hundreds of profiles ready to go and the rest of us are starting from scratch. (And by the way, a person can still have a very high score and fill in the biography and vital information before moving on. I worked the 803s and left behind new dates and locations on every one of them.)

3) Some people worry about pace. On my team, people work at the pace they are comfortable with and there is no pressure to score high unless they want to. I love heart that the knitters team was created this time for people who didn't want to worry about pace. Perhaps more teams like that can be created for people who want to take their time and not worry about their score. There is room for both the people who like the thrill of the challenge and those who like to be a part of something bigger without pressure to win.

by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (608k points)
I agree with your comments on sourcing ahead Emma. To me that should just be normal Wikitree sourcing. If someone finds a source before the thon they should add it as a normal source and be done with it before they go into the weekend.
That is my take on it too.

I haven't talked to you in a long time Lynda. I hope you are well! Emma :-)
Fine thanks Emma. Hope you are doing well too.

I am hanging in there as always smiley

Emma, I got good advice right from the rip: quality, not quantity. While it was a competition for the “most,” I’m sure that I did a better job than I would have just for numbers.
I don't understand the point of keeping score then. We might as well do away with that altogether if numbers shouldn't matter.

And I always believe in quality. It is part of our team motto. Lots of people keep saying the word quality, but I have never seen this defined anywhere for the Source A Thon. Utter lack of quality is obvious (people slapping a source on without filling in the vitals based on the source and no bio headings for instance). This is another thing that might need to be considered for the future.
Emma, I didn’t mean numbers didn’t matter. Of course numbers matter. It IS an incentive. However, I wasn’t under pressure to produce so many, but to make sure I got it right, especially since this was my first SAT, and that even after being a member since April, there is still lots for me to learn. So, I took my time. Didn’t stay up all night. And... after I saw how far some teams were early on, it wasn’t like I was going to help my team catch up, slow as I work. So, I tried to do the best work I could. And for the SAT, that meant dropping a lot of other projects I also need to work on, not to mention just everyday living.

Truthfully, I wish we could do an SAT quarterly. I’d participate, and love it doing so.
I agree.  A lot of people give up a lot of their lives for several days for this event. It is important in my view that the Thons bring a lot of meaning to them in exchange. What that meaning is may be different for everyone. Which of course makes it more difficult to meet that need.

I think like you said, it would be helpful if all people understood that it is okay to be either a numbers person or a slow and thorough person. This is why I was so pleased to see the Knitters team this year. This was a sign to everyone that it is okay to be slow and thorough :-)
+13 votes

What did you like/not like about the Source-a-Thon?

I loved the friendliness in the Hangouts. I liked the idea of doing sourcing selfies even though i wasn't sure how to post one. 

What would you change?

I would reduce the Hangouts. Every three hours was just too much and resulted in a couple being canned due to presenters needing sleep. A possible solution to that is having Hangouts presented by more people around the world. That way for example A kiwi person could present a hangout when it's late night, Early morning for the American presenters. 

Do you have ideas on things we can add to make it better?

More recognition for those who may be just participating rather than racking up the numbers. It seemed that nearly every hangout did the top teams and top people with a top person in each team a couple of times. The stats part could have been middle person in each team, Those that had sourced a certain amount of profiles, Those that had done one profile.

Do you like having teams? Could we change anything there?

Loved having teams. 

One thing that could be done is if you have a record of being a high scorer then you shouldn't be in a team with other high scorers. Spread out the high scorers so more teams can have a shot of getting a good score. For instance in the people who got over 1000, 4 were Windsor Warriors, 3 were Kiwi Crew, 4 were Team Roses (3 red and 1 orange) and two individuals representing their team (Team Gb Gen and SA Springboks). Yes I realise that I personally would likely have to be in different teams from two of my teammates but it would be fairer for all teams that high scorers are split up.

Would it be helpful to have one place for everyone in your team to chat? 


by Darren Kellett G2G6 Pilot (120k points)
I like your idea about more even recognition on hangouts.

Team Roses split our team into two teams this time and split the high scorers evenly when doing it. I don't know how much more spread out you want high scorers especially since we aren't interested in going to other teams. We had very small teams this year too. Plus, sometimes, you don't know who the high scorers will be from thon to thon. Some of my teammates shocked the heck out of me with their high scores this time because I know of their physical limitations.

ZAP Team Rose Leader EMMA .. "Unplugging after the last second of the Source A THon !" 

LOL .. He Heee 

Source: "BooDad"

C'est Bon Magnifique .. 

that's hilarious, Jerry.

That is exactly what I looked like by midnight of the last day. How did you know, Jerry?laugh

+11 votes

Like! This was my first SAT, and I loved it. I actually was kinda let down that it was so short. Monday came, and it was back to the old lines I was working before. The best: I learned about English sources (quality, availability, etc.). Better than the best: the team I participate with. 

Dislikes: Was good to have G2G to communicate through, but I rarely got notices of activity unless it was a direct response to something I had posted. And I didn’t get my prize because I broke the SAT rule that I wasn’t supposed to sleep during the competition! surpriselaugh

Changes: No sourcing ahead. And if it’s true what I heard, no sourcing a profile over and over again! One profile, one point, no matter how many times one saves a different source. I think our actual profile numbers were less because of this, but maybe not too much.

Better: Chats for each team. More participation of WikiTreers.

Teams: I loved my team. It would have helped if the teams were of relatively the same size.

Chat: YES!

by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
Even if a person sources a profile multiple times, my understanding is the system will only ever give them one point.
+8 votes
I completely agree with comments above about the teams... the teams are great but there should be some sort of system to ensure even distribution of abilities. Seems like the same folks are always in the top scoring teams. Kudos to them for working super hard! (Truly, not sarcastically!!) I’m glad they have tons of time to spend working on this but not all of us can do so. It is frustrating to know that no matter how well we perform, we still won’t ever be in a top group. In the 2016 SAT I was able go go go with no problem. This year I had a five year old who needed emergency surgery on Monday morning after spending most of Thursday to Sunday, writhing in pain. I was up every 4 hours around the clock for 4 days giving pain meds...I was tired!,  Sourcing went to the bottom of my priority list, unfortunately.

Maybe have 3 hangouts per day, with a larger amount of prizes at each one, instead of having one every 3 hours. I realize there are time differences, but maybe having one super early, one midday, and one late, could cover everything. It would also give people more time to claim their prizes between hangouts.

I love the idea of having another source of chatting. Maybe for events only, we could have another G2G category/board? All event advertising, recruiting, and team communications could take place there. There are currently 8 boards, perhaps we could add #9 and only open it for events? I’m not sure of the logistics of it, so it’s just a suggestion.

I also like the theory of making sure all team members get email notifications for their team thread. Again, not sure the logistics, but if it were possible that would be great.

All in all, I love the SAT and CAT. They are a lot of fun, and I can’t imagine what it must take on behalf of the team, to pull it off. You can’t please everyone and that is expected. Thank you for all you guys do, you rock!,,
by Summer Orman G2G6 Mach 8 (84.6k points)
Hope your kiddo is feeling better!!!
He is much better, thanks Natalie!
+12 votes

What did you like/not like about the Source-a-Thon?

This was my first SAT. I enjoyed everything about it. Okay, so maybe not the sore wrists afterwards...

Do you like having teams? Could we change anything there?

I like having teams for the fellowship during the SAT. Our google hangout was fun. Also, most teams have a theme, geographical places, common hobby, profile timeframe, etc., which helps to unite each group.

I think it would be helpful for all team leaders to start a thread on G2G to help new team members better prepare for SAT. And by preparation, I mean things like: how to find unsourced profiles, how to find sources and how to properly CITE those sources. More step-by-step explanations may be helpful for newbies. Not everything is perfectly clear on team space pages if you are not overly familiar with WT.

What would you change?

Not everyone has a highly competitive spirit, Perhaps instead of teams competing for top scores, it would be better to leave the top scoring competition to individuals only. That way those who want to go all out can compete against one another and those who don't will not feel like they aren't doing enough. Have a random prize drawing or two for those who score in the top ten.

Do you have ideas on things we can add to make it better?

One other idea to leave some sort of competition at the team level would be to have each team member pick an overall goal of profiles sourced. Team leaders could tally the profile goals and pad that total with a few hundred to come up with an overall team goal. 

During SAT hangouts, members and teams who have reached their stated goals could be given shout outs. Members who have surpassed their goals by 100 or 500 could be given special recognition. Teams that surpass their goals by 500, 1000 or more could be given recognition. Maybe a G2G thread could be a way to keep track of who has reached or surpassed their goals? (Don't know, just thinking off the top of my head here. LOL)

by Erin Klein G2G6 Mach 1 (16.3k points)
Actually, we did that. The problem is getting the people to go to the threads. I think every team made a chat thread but they kept getting buried and unused. Some of us also created space pages specifically to help and passed them around. Then there was the team space pages, and many teams even used a shared spreadsheet with team tabs.

No matter how much you try to help, you can't force them to use it. :(

You are right. And I did not mean to slight any of the team leaders and the work they do with my comments. A lot of people do not use forums and truthfully, the information can be found if you dig (and dig and dig, in some cases!)
I wasn't slighted, I was just making you aware we do try. I posted THIS everywhere.

I wonder how many actually used it?
Erin, I love the personal goals idea!
Erin --

What a novel idea! I do like the idea of team goals! Each team could submit theirs ahead of time, and we could keep a tally of who is where during the competitions.

We used something similar within our team by looking at Aleš's hourly reports. We looked to see what our most productive hour had been and then did our best to beat that. It helped our team move up 2 spots! And it was really fun to see all of the encouragement happening in our little chat hangout.

Perhaps instead of teams competing for top scores, it would be better to leave the top scoring competition to individuals only. That way those who want to go all out can compete against one another and those who don't will not feel like they aren't doing enough.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS IDEA!!! Because no matter how much we say, go at your own pace, team members still worry they are letting the team down.

I think your solution solves several problems including team size and would make everyone happy. 

Nice! Go Roses ;-)

+9 votes
I would like to add that I don't think that requiring people to be logged in to a chat as a requirement to win a prize is the best idea.  It is hard enough to devote that much time to the computer to source - adding the burden of requiring a chat is too much.
by SJ Baty G2G6 Pilot (748k points)
Actually, they didn't have to be. They had until the next chat to redeem it. There was a G2G post they needed to answer and teammates usually tried to contact them as well.
The thread is asking for feedback.  Is it your intention to challenge all of the feedback you don't agree with?  That may suppress others from voicing their feedback.  Thanks for understanding.

If one is announced as having a prize, they have until the next chat to claim.  What if you're announced 5 minutes after you go to bed?  In my case, I sleep about 8 hours, drive to work, and spend another 8 hours there.  If I'm announced in that 17 hour window, do I miss out?

As it is set now, the prize structure benefits those most who either don't work, who don't have children weekend duties, or have unlimited internet access at work.  If you log in a few hours each night to source, say 4 hours, you have a narrow window to claim a prize if you win.

My feedback is that it should be enough to be in the competition and sourcing.  If you sourced on the day your name is called, you should get the prize you won.

On the plus side, I got to meet, via the chat, some of my teammates and see and learn about where they live, their interests, and family.  I enjoyed the chat - and chatting with them - even though I was only able to log in twice.

I also enjoyed that sourcing - and only sourcing - got me out of the rut of doing the same WT tasks for the past two months.  Some of the sources I discovered during the SAT have broken down a brick wall and I'm actively researching it tonight.
I agree with you about the prizes SJ. The system is rather weighted towards those that have no other commitments and can survive without sleep.
I disagree with the suggestion that the prizes were weighted towards those that can survive without sleep.

The prizes were drawn at random so everyone had the same chances throughout the sourceathon. If you were not online at the time it could mean missing out. Would you rather have them just choose from those who were in the hangout chat instead?

However SJ Baty's suggestion of a full day to claim the prizes does have merit. That is an improvement that has my vote. Or everyone drawn gets to choose a prize after the sourceathon finished by a G2G thread so the winners could see what had been claimed by what people had posted as their answer to the thread.
I just meant that claiming a prize should not be dependent on being awake at a specific time during the event. I see no reason for the prize to be withdrawn.
Or allow 12 or 24 hours to claim. A claim period of 3 hours rewards those who can be on during all hours and penalizes those who aren't.

Requiring someone to check in every three hours is almost the same as requiring them to be present to win.
+7 votes

Over 72K profiles improved!  That's fantastic.

Since the powers that be are asking for feedback:

1.   It is very cool that a lot of WikiTreers had fun, social, positive experiences over the weekend both within the general event and with their teams.  My personal preference would be to not be team-affiliated.  I am on duty for childcare on the weekend, and can't devote sleepless nights to this hobby.  I'm not going to have tabs open for chats, hangouts, team spreadsheets, etc, the sources take up enough screen space and clicky-clicks.  

2.  If teams are necessary, maybe there can be an option to opt into teams that are very social vs. teams that are lone sourcing nerds.  My ideal team would be one with no active chat, setting a pace that allows for a full sweep of improvements on maybe a few dozen profiles.  Basically, taking Emma MacBeath's excellent feedback and making it a real structural thing.  All styles of participation are valuable, all styles should be supported beyond just patronizing "every source added is valuable" head-patting for the slow-but-steadies.

3.  I spent some time in August and September popping Unsourced templates on adopted profiles on my watchlist, and it was great to see a significant number of them improved during S-A-T by participants.  I was checking their work from my Family Activity Feed, and dropping thank yous when they did, in fact, improve the profile.  I appreciated seeing sources added by volunteers who took the time to add appropriate location, cemetery, and military categories.  

4.  I'm a bit flabbergasted that "sourcing ahead" was a thing.  Makes me wary of signing up for future Source-a-Thons and letting my future teammates down  

by E. Compton G2G6 Pilot (124k points)
+4 votes
Belonging to a team may not work for some people. If getting more people to source is a goal, could recognition be given to those who are not in a team or those who didn’t sign up to a team, but found on the day they were available and wanted to take part? Would the challenge tracker still work?

I still believe quality and accuracy are more important than quantity. Could there be a prize (or just recognition) on the side for most sources added during the SAT to an unsourced profile not on your watchlist, or finest biography, perhaps submitted separately? Could this be another division that members could sign up for? It would need to be judged later somehow.

(What struck me most was that sources are not actually that hard to find, especially since 1840ish and members should be encouraged to source their own profiles when they are created.)
by Fiona McMichael G2G6 Pilot (130k points)
The challenge tracker did work for those of us who were not in a team Fiona. All were shown in a list that looked like a nameless team and showed in the ranking charts accordingly.
However, if you are considering not joining a team in the future be aware that only registered participants earn a SAT badge.
+6 votes
I understood the SOURCE-a-thon as a marathon to add SOURCES and NOT complete biographies. AFAIK there is also the challenge for Biography Builders. If I wanted to add or improve complete biographies, then I'd enter this challenge.

I added sources to profiles that had dates, but to profiles that were absolutely unknown to me. How am I supposed to write complete biographies of their lives? Sometimes I had to create new profiles, to which I entered the dates I found in the document I used as source for that person, but that was it. I personally added the challenge to work in an area that is quite unknown to me, as I still didn't do that much in Canada at all.

If the source-a-thon includes also the challenge to improve the biographies of profiles, then tell it clearly in the "job description" of the source-a-thon. But possibly you lose participants who only look for sources and add them, but leave the rest to others. That would be a pity though, because this foundational work of finding sources is also important.

Well, those are my two cents about the Source-a-thon
by Jelena Eckstädt G2G6 Pilot (330k points)
+7 votes
Hi Eowyn,

Firstly a huge thank you for such a wonderful weekend!!

Personally, I loved the camaraderie and friendly competetive spirit that was shown all weekend, not just within the team I was on (Windsor Warriors) but between the teams. We had an ever changing "battle" with Yellow Roses, and just got pipped at the post by 5 profiles. Great Win Yellow Roses, thanks for the fun :)

Changing the hangout times and staggering them would definately benefit the presenters. You guys need to sleep sometime!!

Teams are great, more fun in a team, but we all differ in what we can do or the time we can give, so maybe to have some sort of league for those teams that are designed for a more laid back approach.

Definately yes to the chat. We already have a chat set up for our team and it was such fun. We had so many laughs and supported each other. Highly recommended!!

One thing about the Source-a-Thon is that regardless of how may profiles you source be it 1 or a 1,000, each one sourced is another ancestor with proven existence. One more person that is part of our global tree. Well over 72,000 people have been proven...totally amazing!!

Thank you to all concerned who made this weekend possible and such fun to be part of. :)
by Wendy Sullivan G2G6 Pilot (142k points)
+7 votes

What did you like/not like about the Source-a-Thon?

I loved that so many profiles were improved in one weekend. The community spirit and commitment is uplifting!

What would you change? 

I see several good ideas on the page about acknowledging slower participants also, but don't have any new ideas. I slowed myself down this year. I added multiple sources instead of one, added categories to every one, and changed dates and/or the bio to reflect the information I found. My 'numbers' were lower, but I felt really good about the profiles that I improved. I think more people would participate if they knew that even a little bit of time is helpful - that participation is not only for those with large numbers.

Do you have ideas on things we can add to make it better?

I think the SAT is awesome how it is, but may be better if we encourage people with little time, spread hangouts a little more, and don't encourage sourcing ahead (I didn't even know that was a thing!)

Do you like having teams? Could we change anything there?

I love having teams to work with. I felt a little 'out-of-touch' with ours as we didn't use Google Hangout, and we weren't notified of messages on the G2G post so it wasn't live-chat.

Would it be helpful to have one place for everyone in your team to chat? 

Yes! I think the ability to encourage others, as well as ask/answer questions is important for team cohesiveness.

by Mindy Silva G2G6 Pilot (350k points)

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