My WikiTree Prediction for the New Decade

+17 votes
174 views
I predict that during the new decade, WikiTree will become the gold-standard for genealogical research.  ALL other genealogical tools and trees will have to "explain" any differences in their tree and the global WikiTree.  

I guess this is really my way of saying that I truly believe we are on the right course.  Happy New Year and New Decade to my fellow WikiTreers.
in The Tree House by Ron Rowland G2G6 Mach 1 (12.4k points)

2 Answers

+6 votes
I agree with you Ron.  My own family tree has grown in size and in quality since I joined.  I have received a lot of research help, document procurement, research ideas, collaboration - you name it, I've gotten it here.  I have been able to dispell fantasy lines and "set the record straight."  It is the only place I know that you can do this.  I agree with you that - in time - WikiTree will be the gold standard.
by SJ Baty G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
+5 votes
WikiTree is already better than the other major genealogical sites because at least here there's an opportunity to improve existing profiles, and there are a lot of people here who are careful genealogists who care about properly documenting what they contribute. (And unfortunately, also a lot who don't.) Most of the trees on Ancestry or FamilySearch or the other sites can most charitably be called junk.

But to become a "gold standard," WikiTree would have to clean up (or get rid of) the hundreds of thousands (milllions?) of unsourced or poorly sourced profiles that already exist and enforce standards for the creation of new profiles. As long as the emphasis is on getting the next million profiles with no concern about adequate standards, gold standard won't happen.
by Stu Bloom G2G6 Mach 5 (53.8k points)

WikiTree [has] to clean up (or get rid of) the hundreds of thousands (milllions?) of unsourced or poorly sourced profiles that already exist 

It's (also) up to you. You are welcome to go to the "Unsourced"  Tab in the "Find"-menu and look for profiles from there to find sources for them. Another possibility is to go to the "Data Doctors"-project, go to the "Unsourced" list, choose a country or region and a time period and start sourcing.

I do sometimes, and when I find link to profiles that need sources, I find them. But it's like spitting into a gale force wind, when new users are told the "unsourced family tree" or AncestryTree|##### are perfectly acceptable sources.
There are many people in the wishlist thread saying they want to get rid of that. I am also one of them. And I really hope the Team kicks out this possibility of "sourcing".
The dichotomy here is that in order to remain a viable long-term success in the genealogy world, WikiTree is going to have to continue to attract and nurture new members, and many of them will be inexperienced and at the low end of the learning curve.  So it's a question of how would you develop this whole gamut of amateur genealogists into a force that produces "gold standard" quality work without making it so difficult and challenging for newcomers that they throw up their hands in despair?
Personally, I would rather have them throw up their hands in despair than contribute yet more poorly sourced profiles. It comes down to, will WikiTree be a resource for serious genealogists or a dumping ground for unverified guesswork? There are already sites that are the latter, and WikiTree is the last, best hope for the former.
We've probably all seen comments in G2G from time to time by members (me included) who have been here a while and remarked that when they look back at some of their early, rookie work, they are appalled by how crappy it was.  But they persevered and improved over time, their standards improved, and they developed a better style by paying attention to the work and comments of others.  So the site, to a large extent, is serving as a training ground.  In order for the site to be what you want, it would have to cease being a training ground and become a private club with stringent membership criteria, and it would need a staff to evaluate qualifications of prospective members.  It would need to accept only professionals or those who have obtained training and experience elsewhere.  I doubt that many of us who just pursue this as a hobby would bother to subject ourselves to a strenuous "initiation" rite.

In order for the site to be what you want, it would have to cease being a training ground and become a private club with stringent membership criteria, and it would need a staff to evaluate qualifications of prospective members.

If you want that, you never understood the promise of Chris.  It is free, and it WILL stay free. Being free will always attract people who don't want to or aren't able to pay for a service. This on the other hand will attract people who just began with their genealogy or who simply google the name of an ancestor they just heard at a family reunion. As a follow up this means that we as the more experienced users have to answer the same question for the zillionth time, but also that we have to bear with the profiles that match the standard of Wikitree, but maybe not anymore our own standard. But just because of that I really think that the riddance of "unsourced family tree" would be a good step. 

I agree Jelena.  I think the great majority of people who pursue this are amateurs and hobbyists, and many of us didn't become interested until later in life.  If you reject such participants, I don't think the site is sustainable over the long haul.  But even with it's flaws and weaknesses, this still has the potential to become the "go-to" genealogy site, as Ron's original post infers.  It's just that you might get some sand in that pan of gold you're looking for.
There's a wide gulf between a "private club with stringent membership criteria," which neither I nor anyone else on this thread has advocated, and a place that not only accepts but encourages any shoddy excuse for genealogical research, which is what WikiTree now is and shows no sign of overcoming. To answer Ron's hypothetical question about how to explain discrepancies between somebody else's tree and WikiTree, all too often the easy (and accurate) answer will be that the WikiTree data in question is based on garbage genealogy.

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