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Should this become the official WikiTree policy on Inactive Profile Managers

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: [unknown] [unknown]
Location: [unknown]
Surname/tag: leaders style arborists profiles db_errors duplicates
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This is open for discussion and revision. I have seen discussions on the threads about this same problem dating back to 2013 and yet NOTHING has been done. I would like to think Chris and the leaders would want to take action on this issue with due speed.

Our community's mission is to grow an accurate single family tree that connects us all and is freely available to us all. WikiTree can only afford to provide these free services to genealogists who share our mission to grow a shared family tree that makes our genealogy free and accessible. See the Honor Code for our principles. WikiTree's unique system carefully balances privacy and open collaboration. Collaboration means working together on a common project. It's important to understand that WikiTree's privacy controls are about privacy, not control. There are special rules regarding active profiles, i.e. profiles for living people who are users of WikiTree. There are not any rules for inactive profile managers.

I. No one wants to automatically delete profiles.
A. We want to keep profiles with good genealogy attached to them
1. This includes profiles of people over 200 years old must be open. (I believe this is correct for an Open profile) This will follow the Privacy Rules already established on WikiTree
2. Profiles newer than 200 years old will follow the current Privacy Rules
II. No one wants to delete profiles from a recently inactive PM
A. For WikiTree to grow an accurate tree and not become a cluttered mess of incomplete profiles left by inactive members, updates are needed for another category of PMs. This group of Profile Mangers are not active, are not contributing, and although unresponsive, they are not Unresponsive PMs; they are MIA or Absentee PMs. For whatever reason, they came, they contributed and they left. They left WikiTree with some good profiles, some profiles that can be enriched and the left some profiles that are truly garbage
1. Suggestions have been made that action be taken on PMs that have not contributed or collaborated in the past 24 to 36 months and have not responded to emails in the past 10 to 30 days. Two years is more than enough time to wait. After all, Wikitree states, PMs do not own the profiles they create. Wikitree also states, all profiles over 200 years old will be open and this is not the case, many of these profiles have privacy levels of Public or stronger; this is against policy.
2. Suggestions have been made to leave living profiles until the PM has been has been inactive for 3 years, if it has to be done at all. These living profiles should be complete, not just a name and a date.
3. Suggestions have been made to leave the Inactive PM’s personal profile and tree intact in case they return. This allows Active PMs to cleanup and enrich what was once their profiles.
4. This is not a new problem but a recurring problem that will only get worse as time marches on. Wikitree has strengthened the policy on gedcom import/uploads; effectively eliminating the problem of massive bad data dumps. Profiles Managers are required to have Name, DOB or DOD and Place in order to import/upload their gedcoms. This leaves manual input of profiles which can propagate garbage profiles but at a slower rate.
III. No one wants to spend their free time working on Data Error Reports
A. The time spent researching errors should be time spent enriching profiles
B. Multiple errors are generated by one bad profile. For instance, take a 901 error, most of which only have a name has the potential to create a maximum of 56 errors on one report. Multiply that number by 29,000+ 901 errors = 1,624,000 errors
1. 509. Missing gender
2. 510. Unique Name without gender
3. 511. Unique names (spelling)
4. 553. Wikidata – Empty birth date
5. 556. Wikidata – Empty death date
6. 559. Wikidata – Missing birth location
7. 561. Wikidata – Missing death location
8. 568.  Wikidata – Unconnected branches to global tree
9. 711. Separators in Prefix
10. 712. Number in Prefix
11. 713. Suffix in Prefix
12. 714. Wrong word in Prefix
13. 721. Separators in First Name
14. 722. Number in First Name
15. 723. Prefix in First Name
16. 724. Wrong word in First Name
17. 725. Wrong character in First Name
18. 731. Separators in Preferred Name
19. 732. Number in Preferred Name
20. 733. Prefix in Preferred Name
21. 734. Wrong word in Preferred Name
22. 735. Wrong character in Preferred Name
23. 741. Separators in Middle Name
24. 742. Number in Middle Name
25. 743. Prefix in Middle Name
26. 744. Wrong word in Middle Name
27. 745. Wrong character in Middle Name
28. 751. Separators in Nicknames
29. 752. Number in Nicknames
30. 753. Prefix in Nicknames
31. 754. Wrong word in Nicknames
32. 761. Separators in Suffix
33. 762. Number in Suffix
34. 763. Prefix in Suffix
35. 764. Wrong word in Suffix
36. 765. Wrong character in Suffix
37. 771. Separators in Last Name at Birth
38. 772. Number in Last Name at Birth
39. 773. Prefix in Last Name at Birth
40. 774. Wrong word in Last Name at Birth
41. 775. Wrong character in Last Name at Birth
42. 781. Separators in Current Last Name
43. 783. Prefix in Current Last Name
44. 784. Wrong word in Current Last Name
45. 785. Wrong character in Current Last Name
46. 791. Separators in Last Name Other
47. 792. Number in Last Name Other
48. 794.Wrong word in Last Name Other
49. 795. Wrong character in Last Name Other
50. 802. Empty Profile
51. 821. Heading starts with blank
52. 822. Heading doesn’t end with =
53. 823. Heading doesn’t start =
54. 824. Heading different number of =
55. 825. Use separator line ----
56. 901 Unconnected empty public profile
IV. Does Wikitree really want a large Data Base Error Report caused by Inactive PMs
A. This wastes server space
B. This wastes computation time
C. This wastes volunteer’s time
V. Ease of use to
A. Suggestions have been made this process can be automated by running bots, a test case should be run on a relative small group of profiles before trying it on the site as a whole.
B. The bot can generate and send notification emails to the Profiles Managers.
C. Write a bot to run just the 901 errors. The bot can quickly identify profiles that have not been altered by the Profile Manage since MM/DD/2015.
D. Profiles that fall below this date will have their privacy level opened and readied for another bot pass through looking in Name Fields for the word Living or anything that indicates the person is alive.
E. These profiles will be deleted per standing WikiTree Policy.
F. Ready the profiles for another pass through looking for information in the bio area. The completely empty profiles will go to Paul, he will determine the correct course of action.
G. The balance of the profiles over 200 years old and have passed through the previous bot checks and will be orphaned and distributed for cleanup and sourcing.
H. As one can see, most of the mundane work is being done by bots. This frees up volunteer time so work on other projects.
I. This policy can be run in the background and when notifications have been sent and enough time has lapsed, these profiles are ready to send to the genealogists.
J. This facilitates speed and ease of use. The PMs can concentrate on working on the profiles, and not having to send emails, waiting on responses. They can just start researching and completing profiles, which is what they volunteered for in the first place.
VI. Suggestions have been made that individuals are rushing the policy laid out in Unresponsive PMs, but these profiles are far from being unresponsive, they are Absent. WikiTree may, in our sole discretion, modify or revise these Terms of Service at any time, and you agree to be bound by such modifications or revisions and your continuing use of the Website will signify your Agreement. https://www.wikitree.com/about/terms.html.
VII. This is not a new issue. One might want to search Inactive PMs in the G2G; posts from 2013 going forward. The current discussion mirrors the same complaints but from different users.

Possible New Policy for Inactive Profile Managers

1 Profile Managers who can't be contacted
2 Procedure
2.1 Public Profiles
2.2 Private Profiles
3 If you plan to be away from WikiTree
1. Profile Managers who can't be contacted
If a Profile Manager has been inactive for two (2) years and there is no message on their profile explaining that they are away temporarily?

They may not be intentionally inactive.

Sometimes a member changes their e-mail address and forgets to update their account here.
Sometimes e-mail messages get caught in spam filters.
Sadly, some WikiTree members have passed away.
Regardless of the reason, Inactive Profile Managers are a major problem for our collaborative family tree project.
2. Procedure
2.1 Public Profiles
If the manager of a Public profile is consistently unresponsive click the Inactive Profile Manager Request Form link in the Contact section of the Tree & Tools page of the profile.
If you have not heard back on any of these for seven days, then check their Contributions list.
If they have not made any contributions for over 2 years[1] WikiTree will send them a personal e-mail message and then wait another seven days. If after a week they have not replied to us, WikiTree will remove the Inactive Profile Manager on the requested profile or profiles so that they can be adopted or merged.
In most instances, individual Active members will not have to do anything. Aleš and his wonderful little bots will be working in the background to remove the Inactive Profile Managers and open the profiles so they can be adopted, merged and enriched.
2.2 Private Profiles
Private and Unlisted profiles of modern people present a different problem. We cannot allow them to be adopted by anyone who isn't already on the Trusted List.
If you are trying to add a modern family member and discover that one of your relatives has already added them, make sure you do all the following:
Propose a merge or send a Trusted List request.
Send a Private Message to the manager (an e-mail message is better if you have their address).
Post a comment on the manager's profile.
If you have not heard back on any of these for seven days, feel free to create the duplicate profile or family line.
At the same time, check the member's Contributions list. If it has been more than two years since their last contribution, click the link for the Inactive Profile Manager form on the main profile page (a small text link in the box with Trusted List information). When we receive your request through this form, WikiTree will try to e-mail them. If they don't reply for seven days, we will orphan all Public and Open profiles they were managing and delete all Private and Unlisted profiles unless there is someone else on the Trusted List, or extenuating circumstances.
3. If you plan to be away from WikiTree
If you will be away from WikiTree for an extended period of time (e.g. for medical reasons, travel, or other special circumstances) please post a message at the top of your profile.

We recommend a section like this before your Biography:


I will be traveling for an extended period of time, returning about XX. I may not be responsive to messages and requests but I do plan to return to WikiTree as soon as possible. :Please be patient. Thanks!
or you can use:
Effective Start Date
I'll be back in 10...
(but I'm not promising minutes)
Sorry, but it might be a while until I can get back to you.
Effective 1 Sep 2014
I'll be back in 10...
(but I'm not promising minutes)
Sorry, but it might be a while until I can get back to you.
On sabbatical for about 2 months

Make sure that your profile is set to "Private with a Public Biography" so that others can see this message. If you don't want your biography to be public, put the message in a public comment on your profile instead.

Comments from the Past 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

Some else has said that it's bad to have "orphaned" profiles that nobody manages.  That's a good separate topic, but here the issue would be, "which is worse, an orphaned profile that anybody can claim, or a profile 'managed' by someone who hasn't been on WikiTree since 2014 and whose presence on the profile wastes time that we wish we could spend improving it?

Rather than look at profiles, just concentrate on profile managers. On a pay site, you are contacted every year (or 6 months) to basically pay up, or leave. OK wikitree isnt pay, but why not send the same sort of email every year (on account anniversary) with a link that jumps them straight into their own profile, that they then have to accept, to continue on for another year.( Maybe sign the honour code again, or re-new the honour code)  Failure to do this within say 30 day, will mean something like account suspension, until re-apply, or something like that.

The current process does work, but it is slow and requires the very valuable time of a Supervisor.  There are a number of profile mangers that have not had any activity in a long time.  This is certainly their privilege but it prevents active managers from properly managing their profiles and duplicates.

If a profile is more than 200 years old, it does not belong to anyone.  It belongs to us all.  We all need to fix it but the current process makes it more difficult than it needs to be.

If a profile manger has not been active for one year, all profiles with birth dates more than 200 years old are automatically opened and available for adoption. This proposal is not intended to change the existing process for any manger that has had activity, it is only to address the problem of those that are no longer active.  While one year seems excessively generous, at least this rule would make it possible to automate the process and free up time for everyone.

Now that the default merge process is in place, merges can  happen, even if a Profiule Manager isn't active. (Unfortunately, the ones with a  Public privacy setting cannot be cleaned up.) But there is still a problem: There are lots of PMs who have not been active for quite a while. It still takes 30 days for the default merge approval to kick in.  If a PM hasn't been around for two years, there should be an expedited process to have that removed as Profile Manager. 

We could either just remove people as Profile Managers if they have not been active (for 1 year?). Or, a gfentler way: we could have an automated sweep of all PMs who haven't been active for a period (1 year?). An email would go out "from the management" asking if they still want to be involved with WikiTree.  If there is no response within a set period (1 month?), that PM's profiles would be abandoned.

It makes it hard and time consuming to contact the profile manager (which may not be answered for "sometime" if at all).  In the meantime, I get onto other things and "forget" about that string.  Only when by chance I get back to that profile, I find that nothing has been done.   FRUSTRATION and I just don't like to be frustrated at my age.

we just lose all credibility and the tree withers and dies.

I would like to add that I have mentored and helped a number of people who were "inactive" and became active as the result of an "unresponsive manager" request.   A lot of people joined Wikitree early on when the great checks and balances for a GEDCOM load did not exist.   Some of those people became frustrated with all the duplicates and "detached" profiles and just walked away.   When I have contacted them and offered to help, about 10% have come back to Wikitree and worked some profiles, or at least let me help them work the profiles.   I think the "unresponsive manager" request should always be the first "contact".   Then, if Paul hears nothing back, I agree, there should be a policy of "no response, now open the profiles".   However, because of incidents in the past, I am fearful of having too many "orphan" profiles out there.

Leger-741 14:09, 24 March 2017 (EDT)

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