Newbie Question: Protocol for editing a profile?

+13 votes
165 views
I'm relatively new on WikiTree and finding it to be a great resource. Contributing back, I have edited profiles, created new people, adopted a few orphaned profiles, and PM'ed the PM.

I've also read the discussion around editing profiles.  If there is a protocol to follow when editing, I haven't found it. So, I'm sharing my evolving editing protocol:

1. If simply adding a new citation, make the required changes and give an explanation before saving.

2. If adding a descendant, double check the parents, verify the descendant, against an official source, (vital records for example), and to confirm that the other descendants listed are part of the family. Explain the change.

Same thing for adding parents, and spouses...official source. Verify with other family information.

3. If the profile is trash, (some are), with a single low value citation, and contains an invitation to edit at will, edit at will.

4. If something like a birth date, or name spelling appears wrong against a new source, add the citation, a research note, explain the change, and PM the PM.

5. Check the last change date, if quite stale, attempt to PM the PM. If the PM is no longer active, edit at will.

6. Keep the original citations - kinda-no-matter what. Move "Broken Links" to a section in sources "Broken Links"

8. Do big changes slowly - Add spouse?  wait a few days before making any other changes. Adding children, one or two at a tiem, wait a few days.

9. Check the "Sources" space. Wherever possible use the recommended citation protocol.

10 Use "Research Notes" to communicate. esp anomalies, and date stamped intentions.

11. Check for any prescribed "Project Template" and protocol. Some 'project profiles' require open discussion before making any changes.

My protocol evolved and will continue to.

As a newbie, it's not the so much the tools that take time to learn, it is understanding the well established culture, and diversity of opinion.

Suggestions on how I might improve my editing protocol are invited.
asked in The Tree House by Peter Geary G2G6 Mach 2 (29k points)
edited by Maggie N.
Well thought out, Peter! And I concur with Navarro’s additional statement about “way back” and project protected profiles, too. Following your guidelines above would help any new member to start off right.
Thanks for the feedback!

I would just add to the broken links section, that the content can often be found in the WayBackMachine, and that Ancestry links can be updated using the Ancestry Link Templates. Not exactly editing protocol, but something I wish I had known earlier.

I think these concrete situations are so helpful to beginners, not just in what they can do, but also what they can expect in edits of profiles they manage.

Great tips on the WayBackMachine and Ancestry Link Templates. Thanks.
I think it should be noted that the profile you are editing may be my third great grandmother's.  Please don't change the format for references -- it makes the profile look tacky.  Please don't add references that are not needed.  I usually use vital records if can find them.  I don't need more sources to prove what is already adequately sourced. You could use something like Find a Grave, but if it is not necessary, please put it under "see also".And please. oh please don't change my third great grandmother's first name.  People who were responsible for recording intentions of marriage, etc. in the old days may have changed the name in the records, but I have a letter from her husband to her that spells it the way it is listed.  However, please feel free to add categories, fix my many coding problems, and If you're a cousin, please say hi.
I have checked my change log. It does not appear to be me that is editing. If you are concerned about a specific profile, please open a new question on how to address your concern.
Saben si hay instrucciones en español?

5 Answers

+9 votes
Well that is pretty comprehensive!  Think you have got the idea and should hit the ground running - any questions or mix ups or such just pop in here and folks will come help you - it is good if you learn some of the tags and projects before you get into your "way back" folks so you can see the idiosyncratic rules of those projects and how things are done in them - as you will see pre 1700 profiles are shared by so many they must be often protected and their historic integrity preserved.  Look forward to your participation.
answered by Navarro Mariott G2G6 Mach 7 (74.2k points)
Great tip to become more familiar with tags and projects. Thanks!
+7 votes
A lesson to us all.
answered by C. Mackinnon G2G6 Pilot (122k points)
+9 votes
When you open a profile to edit, you'll often see an invitation to edit - something along the lines of, "This profile was created by a GEDCOM import, you are invited to edit and improive, yadda yadda."

This is the first thing I look for and when I see it, I know that I have carte blanche to make a full makeover and/or edit away (all based on the sources I'm adding of course ;-)
answered by SJ Baty G2G6 Pilot (295k points)
I was going to say that if you see "This profile was created by a GEDCOM import, you are invited to edit and improve, yadda yadda." That's just old jargon and not necessarily an invitation to edit at will. On second thought, if a profile still has that, the profile manager has not edited it recently and likely won't.

I think I was supposed to get more out of this discussion than "edit at will!"
+4 votes
I check the change history. If the PM hasn’t touched in in 2 years and others have added stuff I treat it like an orphan and have at it. If it’s been worked on recently and I have minor edits I make them and note them. If it’s something big like recently I discovered the wrong wife I message the person with the info and reason why the change should be made
answered by Joelle Colville-Hanson G2G6 Mach 2 (27.9k points)
+4 votes
Hi Peter and welcome!

There are great answers but I just wanted to share the help page we have on this topic: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Communication_Before_Editing.
answered by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
Thanks for the link. I did find that page after I posted. It is very helpful. There are some topics, (ex. dealing with broken links, the sources space, etc) that might be added.

Not trying to re-invent the wheel.  More, I was looking for community guidance on editing. Doing it wrong seems to be a common annoyance.

All the comments are appreciated.

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