What other categories do you think we should we have in G2G?

+5 votes

We currently have three categories here:

Genealogy Help: For genealogy research questions. Include as many details as possible -- names are not enough. It's best to include SURNAME, PLACE, and TIME in the question. Then, in the question details section, add everything else you know. Since all questions are public DO NOT DISCUSS LIVING PEOPLE.

WikiTree Tech:   For questions and comments about the website itself. Questions about people or genealogy don't go in this category.

Tree House: This is the WikiTree club house. Ask or post about special projects, recommended resources, new discoveries, or anything else of interest to the genealogy community. If you're new, introduce yourself. If you're an active member, post about what you're working on. All genealogists are welcome!

Tree House is a new category and contains what once was our "Special Products" category.  In this post http://www.wikitree.com/g2g/77272/what-happened-to-special-projects-in-g2g Jillaine asked about the change.  In this post http://www.wikitree.com/g2g/77411/the-new-tree-house-a-mixed-bag Chris answered why we no longer have that category.  

I kind of still agree with Jillaine and I'll miss "Special Projects" but if Chris said they read all of the posts and it really doesn't make a category then I sure trust his judgement.  

I don't exactly know how to name this new category idea it but I would like to see posts that change something, instruct or explain a common problem moved to a special category. They might by doing this become sort of an FAQ.  On most bulletin boards these would be "sticky" posts, they never slide out of sight.  I haven't fully thought this through yet but I think a category like that might be valuable. 

So what do you think?  Do you have any categories that you would like to see us add to G2G?


in WikiTree Tech by Gail Cox G2G6 Mach 3 (33.2k points)
edited by Gail Cox

Thanks, Gail! Great summary.

Can you explain more what you mean by "posts that change something"? Do you mean announcements about new features and policy changes?

For instructions and FAQs, I think it's best that they become Help Pages. Not that you'd know anything about those. ;-)

A good example of "posts that change something" is this question.  We have a polite discussion with many different points of view presented.  We reach a conclusion and there is a change. Or not.  

Preserving the discussion along with how a conclusion was reached is educational.  It also keeps a history of why we did what we did.  It acts as a point of reference for future changes.  Or a reference for anyone who might wonder why we do some of things the way we do them.  I learn so much from posts on g2g and I hate to see really well reasoned discussions get buried.   

I didn't mean that these types of valuable posts would be a replacement for help pages of FAQ's. I meant a collection of these kind of posts would almost consitute something that looks like an FAQ.  There isn't any harm in explaining how or why something is done in the Help pages AND in g2g.  That is done right now anyway.  It just isn't organized here.  

It was just a thought.  I'm not sure if it is a good one.  wink  Or what it would be called if we decided it was valuable enough to implement.  

On the other thread Lianne posted:

Chris, thinking back on when we went through the recent questions, I can't help but feel that it's a recent thing that there are so many non-project discussions under Special Projects. There have been a few new types of questions popping up, like when Eowyn shares blog posts here. Special Projects turned into a catch-all for everything that didn't fit elsewhere. But I think that that just demonstrated a need for a new category, not that Special Projects should be replaced.

What Gail quoted Lianne saying. ;-)

6 Answers

+15 votes
Best answer

Picking the correct G2G category was never my strong point, but I thought they worked like this:

WikiTree Tech - related to the software, interface and organisation of the Wikitree site.  Filetypes, access issues, computer problems, gedcom upload issues, and setting up of pages,some merging and categories would go here.

Genealogy Help - questions about our actual ancestors - the people and their genealogy. Births and death dates etc.  When someone was born, where to find records, naming standards,

Special Projects - related to Projects.  Is there a project for a subject, questions relevant to a specific project for general comment - organisation of projects and their leadership.   Badges, member requirements, project outreach etc. 

My first assumption was that Tree House was a fourth category - a social category, which I actually felt was lacking on Wikitree.  Somewhere to share a special discovery or to chatter in a less-specific way eg you might ask what the career type 'collier' meant which is found in the census and people could give their ideas or provide their expertise, or ask whether working with potash ever led to brain damage because you are pondering this.  Or the frequent vents about ancestry links which go to paywalls would also fit here.

I actually think this will be people's assumption with Tree House - that it is the general and social forum.  Which would be great!  I like social.  It leads to involvement.

Like Jillaine, it would absolutely not occur to me to post a project question in Tree House.  Unless I saw other project questions there already.   This is, I realise, because I view Projects as the more serious, structured and professional side of Wikitree.  Whereas to some, projects are assumed to be the collaborative, social and fun side of Wikitree.

I can assure anyone not involved with a project that they are somewhat rigourous and involve meeting higher standards, better research and a great deal of forethought.  This doesn't gel with light-hearted social. It can't.  If this isn't how projects are meant to be, then perhaps discussion needs to be had on this matter too.

There were definitely issues with questions being posted in the wrong sections, but perhaps a short explanation of the category at the top of each category section might help here. 

I'm basically happy to use whatever we end up with, but I think Jillaine makes a good point.   I wouldn't mind seeing the four sections in use - Tech, Genealogy, Projects and Tree House.  It seems nicely balanced.  But I always did like the number 4 smiley.


by Irene Dillon G2G6 Mach 2 (23.7k points)
selected by Gail Cox

"Watch where they walk and there build a sidewalk"....unknown

The thought here seems to be broad, general interest categories work better because they are broad. This smacks in face of the way we all do any work.  When you are researching a specific topic you look for the most specific book available. For instance, if I wanted to find out about the city of Atlanta I would search for books specifically on Atlanta. General category books on the Southern States or on Georgia would likely not get me as much information, as quickly, as a book dedicated to the city.  

The intent of renaming the "special projects" the "tree house" was a good one. Because many of the topics we wanted to discuss here had no comfortable place to to be put. But now with this new description of the category we are forcing people to look in this even larger book on the Southern States and comb through a lot of unnecessary pages to get to specific pages on the city of Atlanta. 

The tags act as book chapters in this huge book and they make it a little easier to find what I need but many posts aren't tagged because people are not accustomed to using tags or use the wrong ones. Especially people who are new and might need the information we can give them the most.  

We are making this so unnecessarily difficult for people to use this forum, just because we want to lump everything that goes on here into three huge books. Yes, information does "fit" in the huge book called the "Tree House" but why not be more helpful to our users and just hand them the book they are looking for when they first see the shelf?  

What unwritten law is there that there needs to such a limited amount of categories?   In addition to the Special Project forum why not bring more content here and more visitors here by enlarging our vision about the asset this forum can be to WikiTree?

We have been having interesting conversations this week on the categorization gmail list about religious institutions.  We also have a new member from Sweden who is interested in offering help to categorizing and working with Swedish topics. All of this really wonderful content is now hidden in emails that goes to a small handful of people. Why do we need an google email group when a categorization category here on g2g would work just as well?  No, that is wrong.  It would work better on so many levels.  It would encourage categorization project members to visit g2g so the traffic here would go up. Google would be indexing our content so it would be available in search.  It might encourage others to be interested in doing some categorization of their own profiles. 

The tags can show us the way people are walking and they will make it easier for our users to find what they need.  We just need to build the sidewalks.   

+9 votes

In the other thread, Chris said that a key impetus was helping people understand where to post specific questions and/or find answers.

"Tree House" is not self explanatory at all; "Special Projects" is FAR more self explanatory. It would NEVER occur to me to use "Tree House" for special projects; in fact, I would turn to "Genealogy Help" for that now, given the name change.

I don't feel like we should have to ask that "Special Projects" be *recreated*. We should ask that it be returned. If you want to create a "Tree House" for general conversation, so be it (although I see no need for it myself). But please return Special Projects back to use who were regularly using it for communication related to our various volunteer projects.



by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (771k points)
Hi Jillaine,

I do think many of the questions that formerly went in Special Projects would belong in Genealogy Help. Maybe 1/4. Another 1/4 seemed to fit with WikiTree Tech. And about half were conversational or announcements that could go in a general interest category. That why the decision was made.

We can reverse this, but I don't think Special Projects is a good category. Like I said, it overlaps the other three. Do you have examples of questions that belong in Special Projects but could not go in one of the other three?

I'm inclined to think the fourth category, if we need one, should be something else.

Keep in mind, we have tags for organizing project-related questions.

I think that questions about what LNAB to use, which are common in the Euro Aristo and New Netherland projects in particular, belong under Special Projects. They aren't really genealogy questions, and they aren't really WikiTree Tech questions.

Also, discussions about potential new projects.
Lianne, see the description of Policy and Style.
+3 votes
I think a forum where persons new to WikiTree or who are addressing profile related issues in for the first time can seek community mentoring would be a useful add. I think these things tend to get asked in Tech, but they aren't really tech questions. To me tech is hardcore - what's up with gedcom limits, why don't I see such and such on a search list, who approved that merge, etc.

What I have in mind is more soft and stylistic, specifically related to WikiTree, not general genealogical research, and a means to facilitate a community standard. Just by way of example, some questions I've posted that might go on such a board were what's the best way to address conflicting evidence, in the body of the profile or in the footnotes; how to reflect a marriage that was later declared void because the "husband" was a bigamist.

Maybe these type of questions should go in Tree House now.
by Ellen Curnes G2G6 Mach 6 (68.9k points)
+2 votes
What we need is a real forum that everyone can use, eventually they will use it if it clear and simple to use.

Lots of user seem to have problems just using this forum, if they canno type answers or questions without technical difficulties then they give up, even cut'npaste does not seem to work for many.

We need many more g2g head categories, like tech, projects, genealogy help, annoucements and social stuff if you must are just a begining. Each of these could have sub categories, for example the Project category could have a sub category for each project on wikitree, it is then obvious what gets posted there. Genealogy help could have regional or time period sub categories, remoing the need for people answering questions with a list of where when questions.

There could even be private forums set up for projects that need a private place to discuss things, this would mean everyone could stay on wikitree, no need to go off to some google corner, staying here would be staying with your extended family.
by R. G. G2G6 Pilot (213k points)
Couldn't agree more.

When I brought up using another forum software (like a regular bulletin board) Chris said there were technical difficulites in making it work well with the wiki software.  So that is just not possible.  He had tried.


We could have categories for Men seeking Men; Men seeking Women; Women seeking Men; Women seeking Women.  I mean, after all, that IS what we do, isn't it?  Imagine the boost in ratings!!!

Oops! Wait a minute.  You were probably being more serious than that, weren't you?  Sorry, Jilliane.  Sorry, Rhian.  Sorry, Gail.

Then again, it IS just another idea, right?


LOL -- that's hilarious Keith.

Let's see if "Policy and Style" fits the bill as the fourth category. I think it harmonizes the various needs, but we shall see ...

I see both pros and cons to the more 'traditional' forum/bulletin board style that I believe Rhian is alluding to. Examples: phpBB or UtterAccess; I think these types of forums were also where Gail was going with her comments about sticky posts.

As far as the categories I think most G2G posts can be broken up into:

  1. Research assistance -  I need help researching ____ (person/place/thing)
  2. Technical assistance -  I already checked the help index but can't figure out how to _____
  3. Feature Requests - I would like Wikitree to be able to ____
  4. Bug Reports -  ____ isn't working the way (I think) it should...
  5. Standards and policy development - We should ____
  6. Announcements - "Have you seen ____?", contest voting and winners, etc.
  7. Social


+1 to Rob, Jillaine, Keith, Gail, Rhian, Kitty. Normally I would combine Bug Reports and Feature Requests into a single category (i.e. Enhancements or Improvements), and would call Announcements something like 'News', but the idea remains the same. Research Assistance is probably the best place to post things like 'Profile X needs to be fixed' or collaboration questions about how a profile should be modified. There does seem to be some overlap between 'Policy and Style' and 'Genealogy Help' though - which one should be used for collaboration on specific profiles?
+4 votes
What do you think about "Policy and Style" as the fourth category?
Policy and Style: For the finer-points of WikiTreeing. Ask for help on the hard decisions or discuss WikiTree's policies, procedures, standards, categorization, collaboration methods, etc.
Genealogy Help: For genealogy research questions.
WikiTree Tech: For questions and suggestions about the website itself and how it works. This is not for questions about people or genealogy.
Tree House: This is the WikiTree club house. For sharing anything of interest to WikiTreers or the larger genealogy community. If you're new, introduce yourself. If you're an active member, post about what you're working on or your new discoveries. All genealogists are welcome.
by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)

I am sorry, Chris, as I rarely disagree with you, but I still feel, ". . . more and more G2G categories are a not good thing. I would prefer to see things back the way they were (Gen Help, WikiTech, and Special Projects). If a more inviting space is needed then an additional TreeHouse works well.

But a Policy and Style section is really confusing things.  What should go in the that section?  Who decides what is, too specific for Genealogy Help, not technical enough for WikiTree Tech, and too in-depth for Tree House? Should we worry that a msg might be overlooked because it was in the wrong category?  Is someone going to monitor all the G2G entries and move them around to the correct category? And it is easy for pick-lists to get too long and frustrating.
I still like the way it was.  Gen Help, WikiTech, Special Project and TreeHouse as a catch-all.  Sorry, Chris, I like simplicity and broad, flexible categories."
As a side note to Gail, I think, using your exmple, most of us narrow our research incrementally by geographic area and then to specific locations. Some of these folks aren't looking for Atlanta yet; they are wondering where on earth Atlanta is located. They are still formulating their questions. But for those who are searching for everything in G2G on Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the Search G2G button at the top of the page works very well. 
As I said, I am in favor of simplicity and a very few broad, flexible categories. 


What Kitty said.
I see that Policy & Style has been created, but the posts I find in there seem to be all over the map.

I'm getting more and more confused, not less.

Please bring Special Projects back.
Just to be serious about this issue for a moment, I absolutely agree with Jilliane's comments regarding Special Projects, etc.  My saying so is more driven by my observation that she is among the most serious and professional Genealogists on WikiTree, which is no small achievement.

Truly professional Genealogists, though few in number, are significant here for holding the entire lot of us to a high standard.  They have a "stake" to the direction of G2G if for no other reason than sharing and passing those standards along to others of a like mind.
+2 votes
Announcements from the Wikitree team and no best answer or points given!
by Vincent Piazza G2G6 Pilot (241k points)

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