Hiding text in a profile biography.

+19 votes
Today I discovered a way to add text to a biography that is hidden from casual public viewing but is visible when editing the profile.  Surround the text with the HTML Comment tags <!-- and --> and the page-rendering done on WikiTree will ignore the text and it never shows up in the rendered page, even when you select "View Source" from your web browser.

You can leave notes for future profile editors, or even write your own intimate obituary that you don't want anyone to read until after you're gone.  You can see how this works in the linked profile.  Click on the "Edit" button on that profile and see the HTML comment right after the Biography heading.  That hidden text never shows up in the normal public or private view, only when you edit it.
WikiTree profile: Jan Obbes
in Policy and Style by Erik Oosterwal G2G6 Mach 5 (50.4k points)
That is one of my fav's - I've used it quite a bit. Thank you for sharing Erik!!
Such good information! Thanks for sharing Erik.
Thank you very much! I've been looking for a way to write my own biography without making all the details of my life public already.

3 Answers

+6 votes

yes THANK YOU, this will be useful

by Susan Smith G2G6 Pilot (581k points)
+3 votes
I've just been informed that this is considered html coding and, therefore, is not allowed on Category pages. It was my understanding that html coding was not allowed on any WikiTree page, so I'm wondering if this will be an exception or the database errors being noted for Category pages will soon apply to all WikiTree pages.
by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (508k points)
How is it different from <center> <sup> <sub> which are on the help page?
dunno. I was just informed that <!-- --> was considered html coding and, therefore, not allowed.

The Magna Carta Project uses the coding a lot. For example, on a profile that we know is on a trail between a Gateways and a Surety Baron, but the trail has not yet been badged by the project, we'll "preposition" the Magna Carta badge and Descendant categories using hidden text (in other words, putting it between <!-- and -->).

We also include edit instructions on project pages using hidden text (for example, saying that an addition should be alphabetical by maiden name & the the correct format for display... <!-- alphabetize on maiden name; display as Given Name (maiden name) Current Name -->).

I find the <!-- --> incredibly useful and I am really disappointed to be told that I can no longer use it.
I'm with you.

Don't panic.  It's on the whitelist


+2 votes
Why would you do it?  If anyone who edits can see it, that (generally) doesn't prevent anyone from viewing the information, and if it is a private profile, such as your own, people can't see it anyway.

Alternatively, maybe you could put the information on a free-space page and restrict the access.
by Anonymous Kelts G2G6 Pilot (513k points)
reshown by Jillaine Smith
Also, why would other researchers even think to look at the edit mode?  Many people would miss out on what you want to share.
You do it because only WikiTreers who have signed the honour code can edit profiles and, thus, see the  hidden text.

You do it because you want the information there (because you, as PM, don't know what tomorrow will bring), but said information might be distressful to living relatives (such as an illegitimacy that nobody knew about, to where the birthdate and place are lied about so the lie is what appears on every internet tree out there except the WT profile).

Having the information there, even if unseen by the majority, means it can be unhidden when enough time has passed that it is no longer as hurtful as it might be today.
Julie, I have reshown your question because it is a good one and others might have the same questions.

If you disagree with this action please feel free to hide it again.
Well, then I hope my post can serve to enlighten others without piling up too many down votes.  It is childish to care, I agree, but it feels unpleasant all the same.

Ah Julie, 

Just see it as someone disagreeing with your opinion, not that they dislike you or think you're a bad person.

You are very smart and if you have a question like this, someone else will, too. Thanks for asking it even if it did get you a downvote.

(And I strongly encourage you to ignore the downvotes. I do.)

I just wish those people would actually come out into the open and say why they feel something deserves a downvote.

I believe there would be fewer of them if they were not anonymous.

@ Jillaine .. it's a little difficult, though, to ignore them when you want to know what and why, so you can improve yourself.  Although, serial downvoters just do it to people they don't like, no matter what is being discussed.  Similar to the serial star-removers.
What surprises me, Melanie, is that all I did was ask a question.  So what is there to disagree with?
@ Julie — Exactly.

I agreed with your question, which was why I answered it.  If you don't know something, or think someone else may need to know what you are asking, the question needs to be asked.

A good example of that would be (now Sir) Tony Robinson in the show Time Team, where he asks for explanations to be given in a way a "Beano reader" would understand .. and some years later he explains it more fully as him seeing it as his job to ask the questions that the rest of us (i.e. the non-archaeologists) would ask if we had the opportunity.

Way too many answers (and some questions) are so far above the heads of some readers that they (the questions or the answers) may as well be off floating in space.

A point I see a lot of people make (and one I have also made) is  that "there is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid answers".

Another point I usually make is — the only "stupid" question is the one never asked.  (Because if it never gets asked, nobody ever gets an answer.)

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