Why do we encourage the massive adoption of profiles in pre 1500?

+26 votes
I recently noticed an editor who makes thousands of edits per month, but surprisingly, almost all the edits are adoptions of profiles, and divestments of such adoptions. The editor's profile page is covered in messages of thanks from wikitree people for doing such great work. This is an odd story, but is it important?...

...Getting to the practical point:

1. A very large number of the adopted profiles are pre 1500. This is of course how I noticed it, because many are ones I have worked on and this includes many ones which have taken a lot of work and time to get them broken free from whatever old gedcoms might accidentally once have had a claim on them. As far as I can see however, this editor has no pre-1500 certification. Presumably if any of us work on a profile now, we should also adopt it if we don't want problems.

2. Some of our ambassadors explicitly showed that they realize this editor mainly adopts orphans, and STILL they consider this a great job, related to a great priority of Wikitree. That, to me, was worrying. Am I missing something?

I have raised the issue in the past of what role profile managers really should even play in pre-1500. I don't think there was ever a clear answer, only generalities like coordinating and stuff which of course is absolutely not what happens. The main effect in practice (when a profile manager steps in) is blocking merges and making changes difficult. (I'd be happy to be convinced that there is some other practical effect.) To me then, the question of profile managers in pre-1500 is open, and I am happiest when no one is using their PM powers, but instead using normal communication methods and watchlists etc.

Food for thought?
in Policy and Style by Andrew Lancaster G2G6 Mach 8 (83.8k points)

4 Answers

+18 votes
Adopting profiles one has no intention of working on seems bizarre, to say the least, but I too have noted this phenomenon which is probably not helpful. (Spent some time worrying about the punctuation. Mean the phenomenon is not helpful, not my noting it)
by C. Mackinnon G2G6 Pilot (200k points)
Well done with that punctuation :) I notice your "probably" and I want to emphasize that (probably like you) I don't want to be talking about an individual editor whose editing pattern is strange. (Maybe there is a problem, maybe there is not. I simply have not looked that close.) I just think it is a good example to consider. Every now and then we have to ask ourselves whether our older habits and long run aims are all aligned.

I have noticed two things aboute the Find -> Orphaned profiles item in the dropdown menus. 1) There is a Select All option at the bottom of the page, below the 100 profiles shown in one go. 2) the default is for orphaned profiles to be shown in order of creation, oldest first.

It seems to me that this adoption process is often used by fairly new members, exploring the WikiTree system - and who aren't always aware of what "managing" profiles means.

I'm a retired English teacher. Here's my edit, C. Mackinnon.

"I too have noted this unhelpful phenomenon."


Certainly clearer and I'm all for clarity, but I'm not sure it means quite the same thing. I shouldn't be struggling with things like this at my age!
"I too have noted this phenomenon, one which is probably not helpful"

means the same thing.  A bit stilted maybe, but I've adopted the style of old genealogy books.
Here's my business school edit: I too have noticed this unhelpful phenomenon.
Well if you really want to go for modern "I too have noticed" should be "I have also noticed"?

I am tempted to add <irony coming> that recent rhetorical trends from the highest levels in America indicate that in future, the correct way to say something is imperfect in any way is to start a new one-word sentence something like, "Sad.". Perhaps, if we really want to future-proof, we should say "Many people have noticed...".</irony finished>
+37 votes
The good news is that one of the items on the "development" list for WikiTree is to check for a Pre-1500 badge before allowing adoption of a Pre-1500 profile.   So, this issue will be corrected soon.
by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (550k points)
So happy to hear that, Robin.
This is good news, Robin. I hope this will turn out to be true.
Glad to hear the powers-that-be have changed their minds from last year, when they nixed the idea.  Hooray for progress!
+14 votes
Totally agree with your points Andrew. Praising someone for adopting thousands of profiles they cannot work on is not sending a good message. Nor is praise for creating hundreds if not thousands of profiles with dubious sources and then immediately orphaning them. It is good to hear that a pre-1500 badge will be required before adopting early profiles but that still leaves the problem of mass creation and orphaning of profiles with no substantial sources.
by Vivienne Caldwell G2G6 Mach 3 (33.1k points)
Maybe a little off-topic - I do not work at all on pre-1500, am pre-1700 certified but barely use it beyond 1650.

But re. adopting orphaned profiles and not doing anything, a little remark. I have adopted orphaned profiles being relatives of my ancestors, just to be informed in case someone would be interested in them. Seems to me the case for not letting orphaned profiles is to enable visitors of the profile to contact someone. Manager in this case means : contact for this profile. Is this a bad idea?

No, Bernard, that's not a bad idea, especially if the profiles already have sources and info. On the other hand, if they are empty, unsourced, contain Gedcom junk or errors, you are more or less expected to improve them, see https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Orphaned_Profiles#After_adopting_orphans

This is why you will regularly see us questioning situations where someone adopts a massive number of profiles, obviously without realising they have to do something with them, and then going on to adopt more with little chance of  completing the task of improving even the first batch.

But occasionnally adopting profiles you have a personal interest in is perfectly fine, even if you do not always immediately attend to them.

+3 votes
People who lived before 1500 either have no living descendants at all, or a very large number of them. Either way, they belong to everybody and nobody in particular.

Ideally, they shouldn't have personal profile managers at all. They would be better served with a project as PM.
by Leif Biberg Kristensen G2G6 Mach 5 (54k points)

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