Elimination of duplicate or unconnected profiles

+2 votes
I have profiles , mostly previously orphaned, which seem candidates for deletion

Some are unconnected without adequate sources.

Right now I have to deal with duplicates subjected to rejected matches

My guess is to put in an alert in the bio to look at the rejection. It seems unlikely they would ever merge when one is in a project .

 Some have been added to a project  after my adoption, freezing them regardless of whether I am taken off the list

The time out for merge approval is at least 2 months for profiles determined (apparently by wikibot) to belong to inactive people

I may have missed something in my reading of the excellent instructions
in WikiTree Help by Tim Prince G2G6 Mach 2 (28.3k points)
edited by Steve Harris
The timeout for default merge approval is 30 days.  If the profiles are Open (and not under Project Protection), any member can complete the merge.  If one profile is not Open, you still need profile manager action to complete the merge even after default approval.  That might require more time to resolve under the Unresponsive Manager process.  That's frustrating, but you might appreciate it from the other side if life prevented you from WikiTreeing for a few months.

If a Project is obstructing a valid merge, you can try contacting the Project leaders to make your case.  Or just tell yourself "It's the Project's problem now," and wash your hands of it.

2 Answers

+6 votes
Best answer

Deletion is almost never appropriate on WikiTree, the only possibly valid reason being if sensitive information on a living person was revealed and the person needs it to be entirely cleared from the database.

In many cases, these profiles can be handled through other options:

  1. If you discover that a person never existed, remove the incorrect relationships but leave the profile with an explanation. Explain the sources that might lead someone to believe that the person existed and why they are incorrect.
  2. Merging to a duplicate profile - This may not seem as clean and easy, especially when a duplicate doesn't appear to have any quality content worth preserving. However, it's the only way to avoid confusing dead-ends.
For more information, see Help:Deletion FAQ.
by Steve Harris G2G6 Pilot (403k points)
selected by Greg Slade
+2 votes
I agree with Stephen.  Another option is to just turn it into another profile with the same last name.  I am unsure if this is an accepted practice but you have to pay attention to get all the details correct and not leave any old stuff in the renewed profile.
by Gurney Thompson G2G6 Pilot (162k points)

I believe this would be classified as Recycling, which is not the best option either:

Even if the profile has very little information, we don't recycle the WikiTree ID unless it meets these very strict criteria:

  1. There is no personally identifiable information at all. There are no names, dates, locations, and/or relationships on the profile that can be used to connect it to a real person.
  2. There is no personally identifiable information in the change history. That is, the profile never had any personally identifiable information. Often a member will clear out the information on a profile but it's still in the history.
Yeah, it's not "recommended," but if you want to fix things and you don't have 2 or 3 hours to burn navigating the merge process, most of the time, nobody's going to notice.

"Nobody's going to notice." frown 

As part of my work with The Lost and Found Project, I have occasionally come across profiles from a disconnected GEDCOM which have been either merged away to unrelated profiles with the same last name, or else recycled to be used for some unrelated person with the same last name. It's incredibly frustrating when people do that, because merges are impossible to undo (at least for now: my #1 tech request is a merge undo feature), so I have had to recreate a number of profiles using the information from the Changes tab. 

I beg you, if you can't figure out how to identify, source, and connect a profile, just leave it as it is, orphan it, and go on to something else. There are plenty of other things to do on WikiTree which would actually be useful. Wiping out profiles that you don't know what to do with isn't really helping anything: it doesn't free up WikiTree IDs, or disk space, or processing time, but it could make more work for somebody who can use even apparently useless information to identify, source, and connect that profile.

Well, if you're worried that getting rid of unidentifiable and duplicate profiles will cause you to have to "to recreate a number of profiles", it sounds to me like what you're saying is that you're going around creating unidentifiable and duplicate profiles.

Here's an easy solution - stop creating duplicate and/or unidentifiable profiles.
"Wiping out profiles that you don't know what to do with isn't really helping anything"

What isn't helping anything is when I go to search Joe Blow and I find 4 profiles of him in various states of half documentation. Nobody has merged them because the half documentation doesn't match on them, occasionally conflating a bits and pieces of couple other people with the same name, and the profile "managers," who really don't give a fig about the profile, block all merge attempts; the original creators disappeared years ago so who knows what they really intended; and the "sources" are a bunch of ancestry.com links that haven't worked for 5 years. Because I actually do research, I know Joe Blow's real biography, and I know the common errors, forged sources, potential conflations, etc., but then I have to explain to 4 different people who really could not care less why their profiles are all the same person.

Or I could do what you recommend and let them all sit around for another 5 years, so that nobody knows which profile is really which person.
Thanks for all the comments. I learned a lot from the conversation and also how easy it is get to get down voted.

Ben, here is an example of what I'm talking about:

A couple of us have managed to identify William Frost, source his birth, christening, marriage, and several census records, and connect him to his parents and his children, and reconnect him to his wife. He isn't connected to the main tree yet, but we've made pretty good progress on the basis of the information we had to start with. 

But his is just one of the profiles that I had to recreate, because somebody merged away his original profile, presumably because they didn't know what else to do with it. Granted, the original information available (name, place and date of birth, and wife's name) may not have seemed like a lot to go on, but in combination with having originally been part of a sequence of Frost profiles uploaded as part of a GEDCOM upload which got disconnected during the upload process, we have been able to go a fair ways towards completing his profile.

What I'm saying boils down to this:

  1. Even a profile which seems to be impossible to source can be sourceable if you know the right tricks, and
  2. The process of identifying and sourcing these kinds of profiles is made even more difficult than it already is when people merge away profiles or recycle them.

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