Who should get the "historically-significant" badge?

+9 votes
What I'm looking for is some consistent criteria for putting the badge on a profile.

I'm currently working on John Alden's (Alden-63) family.  He is "historically-significant" because he came on the famous Mayflower.  Should his grandchildren get the HSA badge? Should anyone born before 1700?  What about Harry S. Truman or George W. Bush?
in Policy and Style by Becky Syphers G2G6 Mach 4 (40.2k points)
The Mayflower group seems to include the first 3 generations - Mayflower Passanger, Children, and grandchildren.

1 Answer

+8 votes

Hi Becky!

Good questions.

The policy, as it stands, is on http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Management_by_user_group

It says:

Before designating a profile as historically-significant, the following must apply:

  • The person must have been born 300 or more years ago.
  • The person must fit within the bounds of a current or soon-to-be-created ancestor user group.
  • The profile should have the final WikiTree ID, i.e. the lowest-numbered ID for the person with the appropriate LNAB.

However, that's not written in stone. In particular, I'm wondering if the presidents, like you say, should also get the HSA tag. That would mean scratching the "must have been born 300 or more years ago" but keeping the other two rules.

As for anyone before 1712 getting the tag, I don't think so, but anybody that could fit into a project/group, like Alden's family, should.


by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)

How's this for a proposed rule change?

Instead of "The person must have been born 300 or more years ago" we say "The person must have been born 200 or more years ago, or be objectively considered historical(*) or the nuclear family member of someone objectively considered to be historical."

Which begs the question, how do we objectively define someone as historically significant? (Which is really what Becky was asking in the first place!)

It would be nice to just say something like "They have to have a page on Wikipedia."

Then we could let Wikipedians argue it out. :-)

Is there a more objective source we could use than Wikipedia?

Keep in mind that I still don't think we want "famous" people tagged for separate treatment. Modern celebrities aren't the issue. 

I found this article when trying to see what criteria Wikipedia used for historically significant (they seem to use the term notable). I think it is a pretty good guideline and if nothing else if Wikipedia is using it as their guideline for biographies I personally would not have a problem accepting those they consider notable as being Historically Significant - or we could tweek their criteria if we want.  The article can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:BIO

I guess for me the other part of this is why are we singling out Historically Significant individuals? Is it because most of their information is in the public knowledge, most people like to show they are related to HSA individuals, and it makes a convenient place to "prune" the tree? I think all of those are good arguements, but if that is the motivation then it seems like it makes sense to single those profiles out - regardless of time - so that proper maintenance and development can be done with them from the begining. It is not like anything is being taken away from anyone if a Project Group assumes a profile manager role. The original "creators" still have access to edit and add information, really the only thing that is being forefeited is personal style preferences in the biography section. Ultimately though this is collaborative site - as indicated by the first two tenets of the Honor Code - so it seems to make sense to use HSA profiles as examples of how well collaboration can work, especially if it is started early.

I like your proposed rule change, Chris. Having a Wikipedia page could be used as a criterion, though it's not perfect. Wikipedia's notability standards are rather picky. It would probably be close enough, though.

We could just come up with criteria as we go. Eg. for now, we could say political leaders of countries are historically significant, regardless of when they were born. Then we could add to that if we come up with other examples?

Brian: Regarding why we single out HSAs, it started out with user groups forming to take care of the many duplicate profiles that existed of these people. And I agree with you that this applies regardless of time in some cases. While with the Acadians, for instance, most duplicates are of the 300+ year old profiles, there were lots of duplicates of Queen Elizabeth, too, and she's still living.

Another major update: "Historically-Significant Ancestors" have been renamed "Project-Protected Profiles" and the guidelines have been tweaked.

See http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Project_protection

Supers see http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Project_protecting_and_merging

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