Should this become the official WikiTree policy on Project Protected Profiles (PPP) [closed]

+37 votes

Proposal to extend PPP (Project Protected Profiles) coverage to immediate family members. PPP

The proposal is for an additional option of extended protection of the immediate family, on profiles that are contentious and are difficult to keep track of changes made. Untracked Changes

At present, the connection or disconnection of Parents on a Project Protected Profile is unavailable, and has to be requested with supporting evidence. Other immediate family is not included and can be changed at will and often is without supporting evidence. This proprsed change will extend protection to spouses, siblings, and children of PPP profiles.

The profiles which need this extra protection are those that are continuously having spurious marriages added despite notes on the profile that they have already been disconnected for lack of valid evidence, and therefore are also having further family members attached due to the spurious marriage(s).  The profiles affected would have been meticulously researched and the sources verified before being protected.  

Please note: Having this option available will not affect collaboration and will ensure that any further additions to the profile will be fully discussed and agreed before previous hard work is undone.

All comments, positive or negative are invited and appreciated.

Thank you for your considerations.

edited for clarity

closed with the note: Please see the new post here:
in The Tree House by Wendy Sullivan G2G6 Pilot (141k points)
closed by Wendy Sullivan

All comments, positive or negative are invited and appreciated.

Apparently not.

In invitation for negative comments (constructive criticism really) does not negate the requirement for courtesy as outined in the Honor Code, item IV.

The problem for the Honor Code is that courtesy isn't an international concept.  American courtesy tends to come across to the English as false, patronising and insulting, so you can't expect them to do the same.

argumentum ad hominem

If this were true then we would see a much higher rate of problems of Honor Code violation incidents with non-native English speakers.  

edit: typo

Wendy, was your intention that this proposed additional protection only apply to a subset of project-protected profiles? I do not think that would be practical. It would add substantial complication technically and for the community.

If we do this, I think it would need to apply to all project-protected profiles. Wendy, if that's not what you intended (and if it's not what members have understood the proposal to be when commenting) you may want to close this and make a new proposal.

Thank you for your question Chris :)

The proposal is intended to be across all PPP's as that is obviously more practical. The option suggestion was for the more troublesome profiles, if having all PPP's fully protected was unaceptable.

I apologise for not be as succinct as I could have been :)
Thanks, Wendy.

Something else occurs to me: We probably would not want to apply this new restriction to siblings.

A sibling relationship isn't a direct connection between two profiles. It's an inferred relationship based on shared parents. To stop a sibling from being added to a PPP we'd need to prevent new children from being added to the PPP's parents, even though the parents are not project-protected.
Thank you, Chris, for your always thoughtful comments on what this proposal can include (and what it should not = siblings, for reasons you explained).  I think the community is ready for this change and yes, profile managers should be able to add or delete spouses and children under this new rule just as they can already alter parents.  Family members who have new information (with sources) can contact either Project Leaders or Profile Managers to make changes or be added as Profile Managers, depending on their skillset and personal relationship with the PPP'd person.
I can see how that could cause problems. I actually haven't had many issues with siblings being added, especially once the correct parents are in place. It is more the marriage(s) and children which have the greatest impact, and are more spuriously added regardless of notes on the profile.
Actually, spurious siblings added means that spurious children are added to the parents. This would usually mean that the parents need project protection. I agree that there's no need to apply this new restriction to siblings.

Relationship locking(If I could call it that) should be a separate feature from PPP. Relationship locking should be available on any profile PPP'd or not. The manager of the profile should be able to activate it. That manager will handle queries on the profile. That manager certifies that all parents /wives spouses / children has been added by enabling relationship locking.

Insofar as this remains an "option" it should only be applied to immediate relatives where for each of those relatives the profiles' connections are complete, i.e. only after a reasonably exhaustive search has been made to find all of the appropriate connections for that profile's partners/spouses, parents, and children, with each connected. That way it will not impede further connections. It doesn't take much of a barrier for some people to say, "this isn't worth the effort".

So if Profile A is some PPP, then Profile A's brother (B) should only have the PPP setting if B's partner(s)/spouse(s) and children are already attached. Then if there is a relevant connection to be made, it would be made through those other connected profiles.

I have posted a new proposal. It's basically the same as Wendy's but it emphasizes that the new restriction would apply to all protected profiles. It also describes some related changes to help pages.

Should we restrict editing spouses and children on protected profiles?

Wendy, I leave it to you whether you want to close this discussion and let the new proposal replace yours, or leave yours open.

Thanks Chris :)  I will close this one and link to your new post.

27 Answers

+18 votes
Will it be spouses only?  What about spurious children?
by Ros Haywood G2G6 Pilot (767k points)
All immediate family Ros :)

Then I think it's a brilliant idea.  When does it start? smiley

Actually, I don't think we'd want to apply this to siblings. See my new comment above.

Stopping people from clicking "add sibling" on a PPP would be simple enough. We could do that. But I don't think we'd want to prevent people from adding children to the PPP's parents unless those parents' profiles were themselves protected.
We wouldn't be adding siblings to the PPP profiles themselves.  We would be stopping people from adding children to PPP parents.
+27 votes
Hear, hear.  I think that extending the "project protection" to children and siblings is a move that should have been adopted long ago.  I gather that this "added layer" of protection must be specially requested - why not just make it a feature of the PPP like not allowing changes of parents?
by Chet Snow G2G6 Mach 3 (37.8k points)
I agree with the proposal, and I agree with Chet to make it standard.  I'm imagining having to go through 1,000 PPP profiles to turn the option on and that's not a good use of anyone's time.  It doesn't mean nothing could ever be added or changed; it would force the conversation and review of sources, a good thing.
Agree completely - all immediate family should be standard protected for PPP profiles.

What happens is that someone has an unsourced tree and when they upload it via GEDCOM, their incorrect ancestors are added as children to PPP profiles that already have well researched families.  It should not be possible to link your ficticious ancestor as a child of George Washington or Napoleon without coordination from the project that manage their profiles.
I agree with the proposal, totally.  I often wondered why the whole family group, as a unit, was not protected before now.
I agree completely. It does make sense for the spouses, parents and children to come under the umbrella of the PPP.
This would not be an option. This would have to be an addition to what project-protection means and apply to all PPPs. I will add a comment up top to clarify Wendy's proposal.
+27 votes
I agree. When someone has done a lot of work sorting out a tangled family and adding sources, their work should not be destroyed by people just adding wives and children that they think ought to be there, but for which they can provide no proof.
by Joan Whitaker G2G6 Mach 7 (71.5k points)
+24 votes
Wonderful idea!  I am constantly finding extra spouses and/or children added to profiles I have spent hours cleaning up.
by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Pilot (133k points)
+25 votes
Wendy, this proposed extension of PPP to spouses and children is a great idea. There are several profiles protected by the England Project who I have to keep a beady eye on for the addition of unproven spouses. Having the PPP badge and the phrase "discuss all significant changes" on a profile does not deter people.


England Project Managed Profiles Team coordinator
by Jo Fitz-Henry G2G6 Mach 3 (30.5k points)
Jo, I thought of you when I read this. I think it's a great idea because when someone has invested so much time in straightening things out, only to have someone else come along and mess it up again - well, it's disheartening, frustrating and while someone can go back and reverse the changes, it should have been a case of one and done. There is always the comments box or PM if someone wants to do some 'adding' - they can then run it through said person/persons involved with that profile.
Online myths and rumours will persist and you and everyone on Wikitree that works particularly on early profiles must get frustrated when this happens. The twisted branches will exist forever on the internet and if we don’t change something in terms of Wikitree protection you will be in a perpetual cycle of editing the work of well meaning but maybe less experienced genealogists.

So I agree with Wendy’s proposal.

This proposal would certainly alleviate one of the constant concerns I have about one of the profiles I manage.
+22 votes

I fully agree with extending PPP to those profiles (and fam members) that are regular targets of “internet genealogies” (not ours smiley). 

by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
+21 votes
I fully support this idea and think it’s long overdue. Now that all PPPs require project management, I can see no reason not to extend the protection to spouses and children.
by Deb Durham G2G Astronaut (1m points)
+20 votes
Thank you for your suggestion, Wendy. I know you've put a lot of careful thought into it. I think it is an excellent idea, and can only benefit the tree and this community. By adding this protection we are saving WikiTreers from having to repeatedly go over old ground fixing things that have been fixed many times before. Not only this, adding this additional protection doesn't prevent collaboration, quite the contrary. It encourages people to join projects and work with others who have an interest in those same profiles.
by Susie MacLeod G2G6 Pilot (211k points)
+20 votes
This is a brilliant idea. There is way too much mischief going on with the PPP's and this would certainly slow it down :)
by Frances Weidman G2G6 Mach 1 (18.3k points)
+17 votes
I am all in favour of this idea.
by Greg Slade G2G6 Pilot (287k points)
+21 votes
A resounding yes.
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)

Adding my yes vote to Anne's. As co-leaders of the PGM project, such protection would greatly ease our daily pain, as we regularly see spouses especially attached to protected profiles where the narrative clearly states such-and-such a spouse has been disproven. 

+16 votes
I am not a leader and thought this protection was already in place.  I wholeheartedly support the idea of extended protection.
by Kathy Rabenstein G2G6 Pilot (183k points)
+14 votes
I understand the perceived need for this, my only word of caution is that people are not going to be patient when they have valid children or spouses to add to profiles and they have to wait for someone to do it.   For the US Presidents project, I fear that this will put a heavy burden on the project leadership to answer all the requests.   The assumption, I guess, is that all PPP profiles are correct today with the correct spouses and children already added.
by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (550k points)
Robin, I would have to agree with you on this one. Unless we allow individual family members to remove their own family member PPP's, this will become a challenging issue for the Leaders to have to remove PPP and add it back on as needed for the family members themselves. I'm sure it can be done, but the family would have to notify the Leaders and then be very patient as there would definitely be delays in removing and then adding it back on an irregular basis.
No assumptions made at all Robin, and I do understand your concerns :)  The proposal is primarily for an option that can be used to protect the immediate family on specific profiles, which are continuously having spurious attachments made. Not all PPP's will need the extra protection, but to have the option available will save numerous hours and a lot of frustration.

Thank you for voicing your concerns, every aspect needs to be addressed and discussed :)
Wendy, it looks like the proposal would only work on ALL PPP profiles, as Chris W pointed out above.

Robin and Scott, I believe that at a minimum, profile managers still have the ability to attach/detach relations on a protected profile. Not sure about trusted list folks. So the onus won't fall solely on project leaders.
Totally agree Jillaine. It was the intention, but my choice of phrase was a little flawed. :)

I should have been more succinct :)
Profile managers, Project Coordinators and Leaders can edit the protected parts of the PPP profiles.

I wasn't aware that Profile Managers could lift the PPP from the profiles they manage, but if this is the case, then it would make things a bit easier. And PPP prevents only a small subset of things:

What is Protected on a PPP?

Merge Protection: The WikiTree ID of a Project-Protected Profile (PPP) is protected. If duplicates of the profile are created they need to be merged into the protected profile, i.e. a PPP cannot be merged-away into another profile.

Parent Protection: The parents of a PPP cannot be edited unless you are the Profile Manager or a Project Coordinator or Project Leader.

GEDCOM Editing: A PPP cannot be edited via GEDCOMpare unless you are the Profile Manager or a Project Coordinator or Project Leader.

Managers of merged-in profiles do not automatically become managers of a PPP.

And this from the same page, unless it's outdated:

How to Protect a Profile

Only a Project Leader can protect a profile. Contact the appropriate project for help.

And shoot - there you go - PM, PC, or PL can edit parents, manage Gedcom imports - but can't merge without lifting the PPP. Need to learn to READ myself (work on the plank in your own eye, someone told me once... or twice...)
I support this proposal, but (like Robin) I've thought about the problem of people whose profiles are PPP, but haven't yet had all of their children added. I have dealt with a several PPP profiles like this in the past few days -- the profile might contain a list of 13 children, but only 4 of them have profiles that are connected to the parent. Implementing this plan would be an impetus to become more diligent about adding profiles for all of a person's children the profile is protected.
+15 votes
An excellent idea. A reminder that most profiles can be managed by projects without the PPP designation. PPP should only be used when there is a history of problems and /or potential for further problems. And those profiles should certainly have this level of protection.
by Dave Rutherford G2G6 Mach 4 (48.1k points)
+13 votes
I am in favor of this idea. We have a few profiles in the Acadian Project that would qualify for the extra protection being proposed. Yes!
by Jacqueline Girouard G2G6 Mach 5 (51.3k points)
+13 votes
This is a wonderful idea, and a large step forward in the direction of improving the quality of the tree. It also encourages collaboration and research.

At the moment nobody has to collaborate or provide any sources to make a change to an open privacy profile, or to change some data of a Protected Profile such as spouses etc... At least this will correct  this for some of the many profiles out there.

It should  be required for  the profile “improver” to make contact and explain their reasoning and provide sources.

I thought this was the Wikitree way at first. Maybe this improvement to the Profile Protection will help towards establishing it.
by Joe Farler G2G6 Mach 7 (73.3k points)
+13 votes
Wendy, excellent idea. Ros, Jo, Pip, David U, Joe and so many other have given brillian justification for this. In particular, I agree with the mess that the unsourced GEDCOMs contribute to when they are uploaded. I dealt with a lot of these this past weekend during the Thon! Thank you for this terrific suggestion.
by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (126k points)
+13 votes
I think this is an excellent idea. It is unfortunate that such an approach is necessary, but the attachment of spurious family members to profiles is damaging to Wikitree's credibility.

I agree that the proposed change will enhance collaboration on these contentious profiles. I also appreciate the recognition that this protection should only be applied once fully-sourced research on spouses/siblings/children has been undertaken. If nothing else, this will prevent projects getting overwhelmed with requests to make attachments to protected profiles.
by Nic Donnelly G2G6 Mach 2 (23.6k points)
+5 votes
I think there should be two answer posts, Upvote Here for Yes and Upvote Here for No.

The first imperative here is that connection changes need to be logged at both ends.  The whole project account system is made a fool of when changes to spouses and children can fly past without appearing in the project feed.

And the project account system needs to be more flexible.  At present many project feeds are useless because there's too much normal activity.  There need to be quiet feeds, where nothing much should be happening, and what does happen should be checked out, without limiting the ability of projects to take profiles under management for other reasons.

The notification system needs to work effectively before resorting to locking.
by RJ Horace G2G6 Pilot (502k points)

The first imperative here is that connection changes need to be logged at both ends.

On first glance this sounds like a great idea. What was the reception when it was posted as a formal rule change suggestion?

As far as I understand it it is just too difficult to change the programming so that connection changes are logged at both ends. I don't think I have seen it up for discussion as a rule change, but I think it has been mentioned many times as a bug.
Apparently the reason why this change (protecting profiles against edtion of spouses and children) was proposed is indeed because making these edits visible on the Changes feed of both affected profiles is not technically feasible, or not viable (ie too complicated to be considered).

But that shouldn't slow us down from complaining about it cheeky

Sure! That's a very annoying feature, and locking down profile connections to avoid problems would really not be a perfect answer. (We're not going to PPP any profile that once had incorrect family attached....)
+6 votes
Yes I do think it is important to control the use of bad data on profiles.  However, I think it is equally important to present opposing views fairly.  

Can we have an added section for

=== Contended Relatives ===

This would allow those with an opposing view to have their view at least aired.  Not everyone is going to have an official record.  We need to, in the interest of fairness, at least allow the other view to be presented.  Many families have different versions of a family story and I think it is important not to shunt aside something someone may honestly believe because it was handed down through generations of people they trusted.  I would not like to be in a position where we are pretty much saying your relatives lied to you.   There could be a missing record, there could be an altered record.  Just saying I think in research it is important to present both sides of any story.
by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (564k points)

But our ancestors lie to us all the time.  Johnny was conceived after the marriage, Uncle Joe died in Europe as a war here (despite this newspaper article that says he shot himself in the head with a pistol after his wife left him), Grandpa William was married twice before he married Grandma and we have a bunch of DNA matches we can't account for.

When we have documentary (and scientific) evidence that tells us our parents lied, or that the story "evolved" over time, it is our responsibility to write the record correctly.  If this ruins someone's family legend, that is unfortunate, but it is often necessary and it should always be told with the impetus on the truth, not on preserving the feelings of some family members.

When a family legend is found to be contrary to the facts, it should never be presented as a second competing theory with the truth.  It should be presented as a family legend and explained how it is impossible based on the known facts.  What should be presented in the bio is an anaylsis of how the story could have been created and evolved over time.

And where there is genuine doubt or a genuine conflict of evidence, Research Notes can - and in my view should - be added.
Laura, at least for PGM and Native Americans, we regularly have such sections (under a variety of names-- "Disputed Origins," "Disputed Relations," "Common Errors to Avoid," Research Notes") for alternative theories to be summarized. In fact, I'd say that most if not all of our project-protected profiles have something in the narrative that explains the protection and provides space for review of the conflicting data.
These are not mutually exclusive points of view.  Debunked family myths need to be mentioned as do undebunked competitive theories.  We have an obligation to future generations to explain why some family stories may be inaccurate and why there are more than one way to look at the family history.  If we don't mention the conflict a new generation may find the old yarn in memorabilia and not know when or why it was debunked or found less credible than what we settled on in WT
Laura, we are in agreement.
The random member who is prevented from adding spurious family members to PPP profiles is allowed to write in the biography.

I'm in agreement too.

Debunked family myths need to be mentioned as do undebunked competitive theories.  We have an obligation to future generations to explain why some family stories may be inaccurate and why there are more than one way to look at the family history.

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