Help:Deletion FAQ

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Here are questions and answers about deleting WikiTree profiles.


Why is there no "delete" button on profiles?

Deletion is almost never appropriate on WikiTree. Wikis are designed so that information can be improved-upon, not erased.

Even if nobody else appears to be collaborating with you on the profile, deletion hurts the community in a variety of subtle ways. It leaves permanent holes in our databases that can never be filled. This wastes our limited resources — making it harder for WikiTree to fulfill its mission to be free for everyone forever — and creates confusion by leaving trails that dead-end.

About the only valid reason to delete an existing profile is if sensitive information on a living person was revealed and the person needs it to be entirely cleared from the database.

If I added it why can't I delete it?

WikiTree is a shared family tree project. See the mission and Honor Code. Profiles are not owned by individual contributors.

Even if you haven't approved any merges or Trusted List requests, the profiles that you add are still on a shared system. For example, let's say you created a profile of Benjamin Franklin. After you've created it, nobody else will create that profile. You can't later decide to delete it, any more than you could decide to delete the article on Benjamin Franklin from Wikipedia. It wouldn't matter if you started the Wikipedia article, you still couldn't delete it.

This isn't like deleting data on your personal computer. When participating on WikiTree you're participating on a shared, collaborative system.

What if there are duplicate profiles for the same person?

We don't delete duplicates, we merge them.

Merging ensures that the Trusted List, activity feeds, and any unique information on the duplicate profile will not be lost. Links and connections to the old profile are automatically updated and redirected.

This may not seem as clean and easy, especially when a duplicate doesn't appear to have any quality content worth preserving. However, it's the only way to avoid confusing dead-ends.

What if a profile represents a person who never existed?

If you discover that a person never existed, remove the incorrect relationships but leave the profile with an explanation. Explain the sources that might lead someone to believe that the person existed and why they are incorrect.

Leave the profile as a Rejected Match for similar profiles.

What if a profile has the wrong relationships?

Relationships can be edited on WikiTree. Go to the profile's edit page and look in the right column. You can remove or replace any or all of their family members.

What if a person is living and their information needs to be protected for privacy?

Profiles are protected through our Privacy Levels and Trusted Lists.

If these protections aren't enough for you, anonymize the profile.

If these protections and anonymization aren't enough for the person being profiled, delete their profile.

What if sensitive information was added?

Sensitive information about living people, especially children, should never be added to WikiTree. The amount of privacy protection we can offer is necessarily limited. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

We can't define what information is "sensitive." Only an individual or their parent or guardian can decide this. We're generally not talking about information that's available through public records.

If sensitive information was added, we have no choice but to delete it.

If there is sensitive information that you cannot delete, contact us using the form linked from the privacy conflicts between users page. In the comments section, describe your situation.

What if a large number of junk profiles are created in a GEDCOM import?

We can do a bulk deletion but only if we can catch it in the first two days. Contact us immediately if option four on the deletion form is closed to you because your account is more than 48 hours old. If the import was in the last two days we may still be able to help.

What if I'm closing my account?

See Closing an Account.

Can I change a profile to represent a different person?

No. See Recycling WikiTree IDs.

This page was last modified 20:22, 8 October 2021. This page has been accessed 54,812 times.