Do you have feedback on how we can improve future Source-a-Thons?

+29 votes
First, a HUGE thank you to everyone who participated in the Source-a-Thon this weekend!  You guys did an awesome job and really helped improve our Tree.  Watch for a Source-a-Thon stats post coming later today.

That said, what suggestions do you guys have to help us improve future Source-a-Thons?

I have some thoughts but will post them as an answer.

in The Tree House by Eowyn Langholf G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
This is my favorite event & I look forward to it every year.

I think it's time to set up some rules.

WT needs to figure out what is the main objective for this event? Is the goal to add 1 source at the end of each profile or do we actually take the time to improve the profile? Shouldn't the source info be added to the bio? If not please tell me & I'll stop. Do you think you need to change the way you count? Many of us did multiple sources per profile.

I also think if it's going to be a true contest then there needs to be a level playing field. I, and others, would like to know what app is being used to add between 1 & 4 sources per minute? It's not the WT research button because it doesn't work that fast & anyone who uses FamilySearch knows that normally who you're looking for doesn't automatically show right up & you have to scroll a bit.

It was a great weekend & a lot of sources were added to the overall tree. Maybe we should have a Thon to do something with them.

28 Answers

+9 votes

I tried to discuss some of these issues HERE at "the future of thons?" but didn't get much traction. I'd like to see a way to track ANY sourcing, not just sourcing an unsourced profile. This will prompt people to add multiple sources and not penalize those that do.

Another thing that needs to be looked at is the future "thons" with what we do in the current thons. Did you add a source that can be used to makes profiles for a spouse/ parents/ siblings/ children? (usually a census) Then how about adding the appropriate category from so that we have more profiles for the Connect-a-thon? I also try to urge people during the Data Doctor Weekly Challenges to add the unsourced template for profiles needing sources for the Source-a-thon.

More than a few got so used to it being automatically tracked that they failed to hit the challenge tracker after saving. Either we need some way to auto track source adding, or that needs to be made clearer.

This should have more than just 1 tag because many might not see it.

And finally, we should know what the next THON will be before the end of this month. We tend to push things until we are rushed to do them.

by Steven Tibbetts G2G6 Pilot (239k points)

I thought about adding the Needs Profiles Created category, but in the context of the Thon it is difficult. Before adding this category you really should search for matches to ensure the profiles needed don't already exist, then you find a bunch of possible matches with no dates or locations, then you go down the rabbit holes of sourcing and fixing those, then....
In the course of the Connect-a-thon I believe connecting an existing profile to another also counts. So if you go to make a profile and find a pre-existing, you are still good.
This category needs to be advertised more for the next SAT. I thought about using it, but didn't know where it was to be found and had never used it before so I didn't want to learn about it in the middle of the SAT. But before next year's SAT, it would be great to learn about it so I can use it.
Emma, from the category pull down (looks like stair steps) at the top of the profile edit box start typing the place name, and it should give you autocomplete options like needs profiles created, needs biography, etc
Goodness, Kay, I'm so used to doing Categories the hard way I forgot about this new shortcut. Thanks!
+11 votes

Probably my biggest hang up would be the feeling that adding only one source when quite a few were available equaled the work that others did when adding all of the sources available. One point for a fully sourced profile. One point for a profile with only one source when others could have been added.

What I commented elsewhere is true: I could have had two or three times the points if I’d added only one source.

Now think... someone will need to go back and add all those other sources that were left behind.

Aside from this sticking point, I had a blast! I felt good about what I was doing and loved chatting with my teammates.

by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (1.7m points)
+11 votes

There are so many pros and cons concerning prepping, it's like arguing whether the chicken or the egg came first. But I can see both sides. Most of us, while prepping, corrected errors, identified tangled families, added locations, templates, etc. So in that regard, it was a plus, although I am sure there were some who didn't do it that way. However, I can also see how sourcing those prepped profiles can be a disadvantage to those who don't prep, making the playing field unlevel. But I don't see how eliminating the cut-and-paste-saved-sources technique during the Thon can actually be enforced? As Wendy said, it takes mere seconds to find a census record for a large family and start slapping it onto multiple family members. I myself used WT+ during the Thon to find England Mormon families who went to Utah and sourced hundreds of them very quickly. As far as creating unsourced profiles solely for the Thon, all I can say is that I hope those who did that were newbies who didn't know any better.

My one big issue was with all the profiles I came across without the template that should have had it - you know, those with one source saying "My Family" or "Ancestry Tree" or "My Own Research" - ugh - there's thousands of those out there. Perhaps someday we could do an "UN-source-a-thon" where we add templates to those profiles that need them ;)

by Frances Weidman G2G6 Mach 1 (20k points)
Well crap. I never thought of WikitreeX which is what I think you meant.
+14 votes

A HUGE thank you back to all that organize the Thons! 



by Astrid Spaargaren G2G6 Pilot (183k points)
+6 votes

Let me interject a few points that became a clear and present problem for a few teams in the past Clean-A-Thons with overlapping regions.

As mentioned earlier the quick and easy fixes USA too early. When several teams cover one State (only speaking for the USA) one winds up with several people working on the same page of errors and wind up tromping on each other. Our time would be better spent if all those people weren't working on the same error in the same State at the same time. If makes for mass confusion. 

And No I do not want to hear the standard answer. Yes there are plenty of error to go around but it when we have 3 teams working on the same State it does not help ANYONE, WikiTree most of all. 

So, let's get our heads together, make some more coffee and figure out some rules to abide by. :)  And quit rehashing the same old stuff. This is supposed to be fun for everyone

Maybe we should have a team for Pre-sourcers and keep their stats separate from us regular people to dig for sources during the Thon. Then we could have a Teaching Team. We could make up a whole new bunch of teams in different classifications then each classification would be on a level playing field. The important thing to remember is to make WikiTree healthier!

by Loretta Corbin G2G6 Mach 7 (78.7k points)
What we do in the England Project is: ahead of time, we each pick a county or two to work on, and it all gets listed on the team page.  That way, we all know who's concentrating on which area.
This is exactly what the team tabs on the spreadsheet was designed to prevent. However, it only works if you use it, mark what you are working on AND pay attention to what your teammates are already doing.
+4 votes
First, I want to say how much I enjoy working with my Sandringham Strollers team mates during the Thons. This was my third thon experience. I did not prep ahead because: 1) I'm not sure how, and 2) I rarely have time to go to the bathroom my life is so busy. I think a lot of the comments and suggestions are valid and supportive of enhancing our tree.

Personally, for me, I do believe that quality tops quantity. I was able to only source a bit more than 100 profiles. In part it was because I was time limited this weekend given that I had to leave for Philadelphia Sunday afternoon. More importantly, for me personally, I was really bothered to find one source for a profile that had NO Biography. I agree with some of the others who wrote in a similar vein. As long as I was there, I added a simple biography (e.g., name with birth year, parents names (if available), then sourced christening date and location. I stayed in Cornwall, so I added the Cornwall flag (so simple and quick and added to the looks a bit). Sometimes they had children listed, but without a source or biography. I added to them as well. Sometimes the father and children were listed. If the mother was listed in the source. I added a quick profile and source for her.

I do know that some folks sourced maybe 1 - 10 profiles. Well, 1 - 10 is better than 0. I don't know if it is because they are new, or ended up with family issues. No one gets paid to do this and family issues do come up. Perhaps we should set guidelines for the Sourcerers badge (or any other thon) - say 25 profiles, or whatever leadership determines to receive the badge. This might be incentive to do more than 1. Thank you for hearing me out.
by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (163k points)

It was great working with the Strollers, wasn’t it? Such a fun and funny group. The chats we had were so encouraging, asking questions, keeping up with stats, saying silly stuff. 

+4 votes
Maybe if we adjusted the preparation that some want to do to adding maintenance categories and counted those that got replaced by a source to encourage more to be added to each profile.

Removing just unsourced would only count as 1 and adding more would be credited.
by Hilary Gadsby G2G6 Mach 7 (74.2k points)
+2 votes
As Pip said, I too added many sources for the profiles I worked on and I didn't get credit for most of them. It's still a better idea than plopping something down that the PM may not even look at. Consider this, if the profile has a PM and it's unsourced, they probably aren't all that interested in getting it right.

My biggest issue this year was all of the poorly "dropped" profiles, whether GEDcoms or adds without any dates or places. Sourcing those is ridiculous. How do we stop people using as a source, or just listing census years without the information and no links? I have had communication with wikitreers who believe is a perfectly acceptable source. It's NOT! It's one thing if they actually put all the information and a link, so at least people with an account can verify it. But, linking to an account where all the "sources" are other trees, or not including a link at all? NOPE!

Another thing I saw this year was a series of profiles of one family and its' members added with * as the only source! That was done by someone who knew how to game the system in order to add more profiles.

There must be some way to do a better job of vetting new profile creation and teaching new members how to use Root Search before they're made full members. I didn't understand Root Search, or how to use it, nor did I know about FS until I started on Wikitree. Maybe there could be a requirement that new members, given some basic names, dates, and places need to create a "Fake" profile with at least one source from FS using Root-Search?

Wikitree has a high learning curve and maybe some of our leaders have forgotten that? More robust requirements for adding profiles has to occur sooner rather than later, or our tree will end up with the same kind of messes I see on FS and Ancestry -actually, it already has.

I don't write code, I don't know how to program, and God knows I don't want to make more work for our leadership, but if we don't fix these issues now, they will continue to create more work for the dedicated members of our tree who work here almost daily.
by Lisa Linn G2G6 Mach 4 (48.3k points)
@ Lisa, I couldn't agree more. Adding more junk profiles makes everyone's work more difficult! We all know this, so why do the leaders continue to allow it to happen. Gecom Uploads are the worst! Instead of an individual adding a few junk profiles, we get thousands in one fell swoop! I also agree that something needs to be done sooner than later.
Thanks Loretta! Maybe @Eowyn, Mags, Ales, SJ will take a look and help figure this out?

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