It's been another eventful year for our grand project to grow an accurate, free, single family tree. Our 10th year.
In 2018 we welcomed over 100,000 new members into our community. Collectively we made over 23 million edits. We added three million unique profiles. Our web pages were viewed 200 million times by 12 million different people.
WikiTree has grown larger, but has it grown stronger? This is hard to measure (anyone who has suggestions for how to measure it, please post below) but I do believe it has.
Our community feels stronger. Closer. More unified. You see it here in G2G every day in the way members interact with each other. I think our big community events -- the third annual Source-a-Thon, the second annual Clean-a-Thon -- have helped contribute to our sense of teamwork and camaraderie.
Many of our technical improvements in 2018 were focused on the strength of our tree. Our search and matching systems have been improved to help prevent duplicates. Our code for merging duplicates is now a lot better. Our GEDCOM processing and GEDCOMpare systems were enhanced.
We also made usability improvements in 2018. It's now much easier to find and use categories. This G2G forum was upgraded. Activity feeds are more informative, and we added a super-handy Watchlist Quick Finder.
Unfortunately a lot of what we worked on in early 2018 wasn't by choice. We spent months reacting to the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This led us to pull back on some features we were planning and change some of our policies related to sharing information on living people. Not all members were happy with these changes. But, if we want to survive for the ages, we can't push the envelope on what's legally permissible. Now I think we're well-protected and can proceed on our mission without worry.
How will we proceed forward in 2019?
Here is some of what I'm looking forward to working on with the team:
- Getting started on connecting historical place names in our database with geographic coordinates so that locations can be used more effectively.
- Adding an advanced search option, separate from the basic person search tool.
- Improving profile comments so they're better for discussions.
- Transforming image browsing pages into thumbnail galleries and slideshows.
- Speeding up the Connection Finder so it works for more than just a few connection anchors.
- Adding profile preview windows when you hover over a link.
- Providing estimates for expected shared DNA.
- Developing more ways to proactively introduce distant cousins, likely DNA matches, and genealogists with shared interests.
What do you think our priorities should be this year?
If you haven't already, please read, vote, comment and post your own answer here: What WikiTree improvements are on your wishlist?
In particular, I like to hear members' thoughts on the big picture. How can we make even better progress on our mission? How can we grow our shared tree while making it more accurate? How can we attract other serious genealogists to join us in the hard but rewarding work of collaboration? How can we encourage our family members to share what's hidden in the corners of their attics and minds before it's lost? How can we strengthen this community of ours so that we have reserves of energy and enthusiasm to power our mission?
On that note, about our community, I want to end with a particular thank-you to those who go beyond collaborating on their own family history and take responsibility for helping others who want to contribute. Thank you to the Greeters who meet new members with a friendly face. Thank you to those of you here in G2G who give amazingly helpful and generous answers. Thank you to the Mentors who give one-on-one help where it's needed. And to the Rangers who take shifts protecting our tree 24-7-365 (even Christmas and New Years Day!). Thank you to the Mediators who do what very few of us want to do (resolve heated conflicts). And thank you to the Project Leaders who deftly navigate the problems of collaborating on widely shared ancestors in order to enable members with widely varying experience levels to contribute to common goals. Thank you to all our generous genealogists.
Onward and upward in 2019,