Help:Data Validation

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WikiTree does some basic "data validation" when you create a new profile or edit an existing profile.

These warnings usually appear as the result of simple typos such as entering a date as 0800 instead of 1800. Warning you about them draws attention to the error and prevents it from causing problems in the future, such as creating a profile that can't be edited by most members because of restrictions on pre-1500 profiles.

Contents

Errors: Invalid Data

Our system will confirm that:

  1. dates are formatted in a way they can be interpreted (e.g. DD Mon YYYY; see Date Fields for other formats that work), and
  2. dates are not in the future, and
  3. names do not have invalid characters such as numbers, symbols, etc., and
  4. living and non-living indicators do not conflict, e.g. there is not an e-mail address on a profile with a death date, or a death date is not marked "blank because still living" on a profile of someone born 115+ years ago.

These errors cannot be dismissed. You need to correct the problem before saving the profile.

Warnings: Contradictory Information

These are what we call "red level" warnings. They warn about the following impossible or near-impossible situations.

Internal contradictions

  • The death date is before the birth date.
  • The death date is more than 120 years after the birth date.

Related to parents or children

  • The child's birth date is before a parent was 6 years old.
  • The child's death date is before a parent was 7 years old.
  • A parent died before age 12.
  • The child's birth date is after the mother was 67 years old.
  • The child's birth date is after the father was 100 years old.
  • The child's birth date is more than one day after the mother's death date.
  • The child's birth date is more than nine months after the father's death date.
  • The child's birth date is more than 110 years before a parent's death date. (This would mean the parent lived to be well over 110.)
  • The child's death date is more than 110 years before a parent's death date. (This would mean the parent lived to be well over 110.)
  • The child's death date is more than 170 years after a parent's birth date. (This would mean that even if the parent was 70 when the child was born, the child lived to be over 100.)
  • The child's death date is more than 120 years after a parent's death date. (This would mean that the child lived to be over 120.)
  • The child has a living indicator but one of their parents was born or died more than 170 years ago.
  • The parent has a living indicator but one of their children was born or died more than 100 years ago.

Related to siblings

  • Siblings are too far apart: The birth date is more than 60 years before or after a sibling's birth date.
  • Siblings are too close: The birth date is less than eight months before or after a sibling's birth date, but the siblings are not twins born within one day of each other.
  • One sibling has a living indicator but another was born or died more than 150 years ago.

Related to spouse/marriage

  • The birth date is more than 115 years before or after a spouse's birth date.
  • The birth date is after a spouse's death date.
  • The marriage date is after one spouse's death date.
  • The marriage date is before one spouse's birth date.
  • One spouse has a living indicator but the other was born or died more than 160 years ago.

Other Warnings

Category names that don't exist

You will see a red-level warning if there is a [[Category]] tag that doesn't match an existing category.

If you want to create a new category, just click the "Save Anyway" button and proceed to create the category after editing the profile.

Note that you may be warned unnecessarily if:

  • the category was just recently created, or
  • there is a minor formatting difference, e.g. two spaces between words.

Reference tag formatting

There is also a red-level check for a particularly troublesome but common formatting issue: unclosed reference tags.

If there is an opening <ref> there should always be a closing </ref> after the footnote text. See [[ Help:Sources|Sources]].

Caution: Unusual Situations

These are what we call "yellow level" warnings. They warn about unusual but not impossible situations, e.g. spouses of the same gender.

These checks are only done when you are creating a new profile. We decided against giving them when editing an existing profile because users would end up seeing the same warnings repeatedly, and even mentioning them once could be considered politically incorrect. :-)

Internal checks

  • The person has no gender.
  • The birth date or death date is before 1000 A.C.E. (Very few people on WikiTree are born before the year 1000.)
  • There are two names in the first name field. One may be a middle name.

Related to parents or children

  • The father is female.
  • The mother is male.
  • The child's birth date is before a parent was 13 years old.
  • The child's death date is before a parent was 13 years old.
  • The child's birth date is after the mother was 55 years old.

Related to siblings

  • Siblings are very far apart: The birth date is more than 40 years before or after a sibling's birth date.

Related to spouse/marriage

  • Both spouses are male.
  • Both spouses are female.
  • A spouse's birth date is more than 80 years before the marriage date.
  • A spouse's birth date is less than 10 years before the marriage date.

There are many other checks that could be done, but some are difficult to implement (e.g. checking dates for additional generations). We could also tweak these checks. But our data validation is just meant to help members avoid obvious errors.

Saving Anyway

Data errors cannot be dismissed, but red-level warnings and yellow-level cautionary notices can be dismissed by clicking "Save Anyway".

We allow this because you might be entering information as a placeholder or it could be that the profile you're editing is correct but a relative's profile needs to be edited. For example, it's impossible for a child to be born before a parent, but it could be that the parent's birth date is incorrect, not the child's.

If contradictory or questionable information is going to be left for more than a few hours, it is strongly recommended that you explain it with a comment on the appropriate profile(s) or a Research Notes section in the biography.

Data Doctor Suggestions

The data validation described above is independent of the Data Doctors Project and the Suggestions linked from pull-down menus.

The Data Doctors Project is based on the work of AleŇ° Trtnik and is entirely community-driven. What they're doing is much more robust and dynamic than the internal checks. Please consider participating in it.

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This page was last modified 19:03, 11 June 2018. This page has been accessed 41,086 times.