Please dont copy paste biographies

+19 votes

While I understand writing good bios takes time. I implore on all of you in the filles du roi project not to copy/paste your biographies from the 700 Filles du Roy website, or really from anywhere else.

So many of our profiles have copy/pasted biographies and this doesn't help! We will need to go over all of them again and do real biographies, so might as well just leave them in the filles du roi need biographies list and not copy/paste. Taking time to write our own, original biographies will make our profiles shine!

Felt like it needed to be said.

in Policy and Style by Anonymous Grand'Maison G2G6 Mach 1 (18.9k points)
edited by Anonymous Grand'Maison
Wonderful advice, Anonymous, but I wish you wouldn't limit it to filles du roi profiles … it is equally good advice for all profiles!
Of course, this can apply to any profile, as stated in our guidelines, but it is a phenomenon that is very present in the Filles du roi project unfortunately.
You might want to add tags for biography and copyright to your post so more people see it.

yes, a lot of that is old work of which I was myself guilty at the time.  There is only one place I know that allows exact textual copying and that is, and if one does so they have a set requirement on how source attribution must be made.

so meanwhile, what happened to Mystery?  wink

Greg, i did that, thank you.

Danielle, someone told me to change my placeholder name in order to have consistency between profiles. It was fun while it lasted.

mdr, mon cher cousin, utilisez donc votre prénom plutôt  laugh

Nice try, cousine! Nope.

4 Answers

+12 votes
If all you do is copy/paste isn’t that plagiarism??

Writing in your own words and perhaps quoting occasionally would seem far more appropriate.
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Plagiarism is a perfect description and often "copyright violation" is an equally appropriate description.  Unfortunately, there are many instances of both here, no matter how hard so many of us work to keep all WikiTree content above board.
That depends on the copyright status of the original source; if it's public domain or released under a Creative Commons license then it's not plagiarism as long as a proper attribution is made.
No point in doing it if it can be read somewhere else. Have found two bios copied verbatim for HOP which is definitely copyright violation and large chunks from Medlands are appearing. BUT writing a half-way decent bio can take half a day even when all the sources are in place. If you manage 5000 profiles that's about 7 years full time work if you do nothing else. Perhaps having a bio for everyone is an impossible dream.
I'm afraid I have to disagree with C Handy.  Wikipedia is under Creative Commons, but WikiTree does not have the same licensing policy and therefore you can link to it, but not copy from it.  Also, like C Mackinnon says, no point in doing it if it can be read somewhere else.
+7 votes
While I agree with the OP's point, I have a different take on the bios that I write for Wikitree profiles.

I actually want my Wikitree bios to be copied elsewhere (either word-for-word or paraphrased).  I write bios for Wikitree profiles in hopes that people making Ancestry trees, for example, might find these and use them in their trees.  I don't even care if I get credit for these bios, as my drive and motivation is put out accurate information on my ancestors.
by Ray Jones G2G6 Pilot (154k points)
I agree. Writing for others is what we do here. Copy away if it's good enough. But copying from elsewhere is pointless, ill-mannered, lazy and sometimes illegal. Often serious bios written elsewhere give far too much technical info and the family stuff, which is what we are about, gets added in as an afterthought.
+5 votes
This seems like a good place to drop this generator link:

It's best used as a framework to build off of, but even with that it's a timesaver.
by Dina Grozev G2G6 Pilot (103k points)
This is great--why didn't I see this tool mentioned sooner in some newby/intro materials?  Keying in name links may introduce errors and contributes nothing to the unique/family information that makes a quality bio.  Many thanks for posting.
Yw, I especially like it because looking at a blank page makes me procrastinate.

Also folks should know the generator doesn't work if you have strict privacy settings on a profile.
+5 votes
I am one that copy/paste all my sources. I'm not good at putting a person's life into a story format but I wish I was. I use to just put the links under sources but when I went back some time later, I found that link was no longer a valid link so I don't have any information on that profile. Having had that happen to me a few times, I put all the information I can get from that website and make sure that I put the website listed there. I've also found this very useful when I'm merging as all the information is already in the biography so I don't have to be flipping to other websites to find to see if the information matches what is shown on the profile (which sometimes it isn't). My memory isn't that good anymore so flipping from one tab to another, I often forget what I was looking for or what the other profile said. It is so time consuming doing merges that I don't do as many anymore like I use to. I don't feel that I'm plagiarizing as I get most of my info from FamilySearch which leads me to a link. One day if my brain gets better then I'll try my hand to write a story on each profile but for now, if it is going to be mandatory to write stories, then I will not be working on my family tree. Just adding my two cents.
by Sherry Wells G2G6 Mach 1 (16.6k points)

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