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How are Labels intended to be used on a person's page?

In the past couple of weeks, a new section was added to the top of the person page to attach labels.

The default labels presented correspond to some of FamilySearch's recent front page campaigns for Mormon Pioneers and the War of 1812.

But if you use the search field, you'll find tons of poorly categorized labels behind the scenes. When you attach a label, you can optionally link to a web page at the same time.

Are these labels intended to be used by regular users like me? Or has the UI for them just been exposed by mistake? This seems like something FamilySearch would use internally when creating its campaigns.

I could see how it would potentially be useful for creating curated lists of associated (but unrelated) people in noteworthy groups, or even unremarkable groups. For example, "Graduates of Kansas State University" or "Members of Center Pennsylvania Monthly Meeting" or "Governors of Utah."
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  • When I click on +Attach Label, I get three choices:


    When I click on one of the choices ("War of 1812" -- the other two provide the same result), I get a sorted alpha list of the categories:


    The current problem is I have no means to add a given category and subcategory(ies) to the list of options. Right now, it looks to be very early in the development of this feature, one that was requested better than a year ago when labels started appearing for some individuals.
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  • 2
    See also https://getsatisfaction.com/familysea... and https://getsatisfaction.com/familysea....

    Would the developer who added the Labels feature to Family Tree please give us some idea as to what is is all about? Nobody else seems willing to enlighten us as to any intended future development, etc.
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  • I would like to remove a label. It has been incorrectly attached to the wrong person from a handcart company. https://www.familysearch.org/tree/per...

    This person has two labels of pioneer companies. He was in the John Murdock comapny, not the Edmund Ellsworth handcart company. I clicked the x next to the label but nothing happened. I'm using chrome.
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    • Is it possible that your person went back after they first came west and assisted with bringing another company back? I heard once that a few did return to do exactly that, a few are well-known names, but a few others maybe not so known.
    • Several people worked as guides for the various overland wagon trails. One such person was Ezra Meeker, who worked with the Oregon Trail, which paralleled the Mormon Migration route. At the visitor's center commemorating the two Handcart companies in Wyoming is one of the Ezra Meeker Plagues. He is buried in the same cemetery as my parents.
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  • 3
    I don't know whether to laugh or weep over the current list of categories offered under the LABELS section found on the FS Person page - for example: magician? organised crime figures? victims of crimes and disasters? relatives of notable? criminals, eccentrics, oddities? Why is there a category for Medal Of Honor Recipients, but not for Military Service? Does Emma Hale go under Prophets Wives or Famous LDS members or Joseph Smith Papers or Famous Americans or all of them. The list seems random and ill-thought out. The potential for this area to become a littered dumping ground for dozens of insignificant links is enormous, especially when the category Miscellaneous is included.
    No clues are given by the developer as to what this section is for.
    Some direction please.
    I love FS/FT, but am baffled by this new tool.
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  • 1
    I have not looked at the label feature recently...

    But just glancing at it, yes, it is somewhat laughable.

    My recommendation continues to be to allow patrons to suggest the labels be added, or allow patrons to actually enter labels. Right now, this list looks to have been created from the early categories used by Relative Finder.

    I know that over the past several years, there has been some controversy about labels and for a while, previously selected labels (but not by patrons) were actually displayed.

    That was stopped after a number of complaints and then about three or so months ago, the new system was introduced, allowing patrons to mark labels that apply to the person.

    The choice, however, at that time, was very limited. Now it has been expanded to include a number of categories, some of which are likely unwanted. Right now, I have to agree with Linda -- the whole thing is random and ill-thought out.
    • I just looked through the list. "Magician" is an occupation, tied to entertainment. "Famous LDS Members", when clicked, offers two "Famous LDS Members" to attach. Which one should be used?

      And Prophet? For what religion? Edgar Case, maybe? Nostradamus?

      Yeah, not thought out and definitely with major flaws in the thinking, since it appears to be oriented toward LDS ancestry, and not the reality of the entire world!.
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  • 2
    I continue to be completely baffled by the purpose of the "Labels" feature. There are so many issues crying out to be addressed in the FT program, so what is this all about? I thought it might help my understanding if I were an LDS church member, but now that items like "Magician" have appeared I don't think it would. Memories and Custom Facts are surely quite adequate for recording this type of detail.

    BTW - does a "Labels" feature appear in any other genealogical software?
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  • 2
    Re. Labels
    I would suggest that not only does the Labels feature not solve an existing need, it creates several dilemmas.

    1. Why would you ever want to select one attribute, one act, one circumstance, one achievement or one failure as a defining label for a person? I’ll give an extreme, but poignant example. Should my 1690’s Massachusetts ancestor be labeled as “criminal, eccentric, or oddities” or the ”victim of crime and disaster”? Or should I be able to add a user-label of “witch”? Surely, it should be noted somewhere but I would be hesitant to put in this section. But then what is the decision process – only put “positive” things in the Labels section?
    2. Any preselected, finite list of labels will always be inadequate to describe the breadth of human experience. [The list is already too Mormon-centric with a 19th & 20th century focus] Whereas, having user-added Labels will, in 5 or 10 years’ time, potentially devolve into a mish-mash of so many labels that they begin to clutter the section and lose focus, purpose and organization. [Something that is already happening with Other Information]

    There is value, of course, in recognizing the events and accomplishments – good and bad- of our ancestors, but right now that is far better done in Life Sketch, Notes, Memories, Other Information or even Sources.

    A far more useful and flexible tool would be to carefully develop some type of a Timeline section. Each entry would have a date and a succinct title which could be opened, if desired, to show a short description, a source citation, and a URL link. Importantly, the timeline would be scalable and self-organizing into the future.
    (BTW – the Sources section would really benefit from a self-organizing feature achieved by simply encouraging the source title to be preceded by a date)

    To you FS software gurus – FS is great and getting better all the time. Thank-you. You are appreciated.
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  • Linda, you are so correct.

    Labels should not be about the mundane, such as an occupation of Magician. How about Acrobat, or Sword-Swallower, or Pinhead. All are side-show attractions and include side-show magicians.

    LDS-centric labels need to be under a major heading, like the War of 1812 and all of its subheadings.

    Right now, the whole thing has already devolved into a mish-mash of labels that are of limited interest, like Magician. Labels should, if I had my say, signify historic events, or members of some kind of Armed Forces (like those in the War of 1812).

    Both of your suggestions are far better than using labels which seems to be more like badges of honor, than anything else. But criminal?
    • By the way, where is my Oregon Overland Trail? My ancestors were Oregon Trail people and that was as important to me as any Mormon Trail personalities, except as it applies to their descendants.

      Again, the Utah-centric "look at what we have done, Aren't we Great?" syndrome. It would be far better to not use labels at all, but let them be relegated to a Custom Fact or Event.
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  • I’m concerned
    2
    If I recall, 'Labels' were originally to do with the 'Early Utah Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel' and the various 'Companies' associated with that travel.

    We ( the Users / Patrons ) wanted a way to add our Ancestors that got missed out, instead of going through the process of creating Support Cases and the wait.

    Them the 'War of 1812' crept in.

    Now it has just got out of hand.
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  • I agree that a lot of the labels are not well designed. And when you use them they don't work the way I would think you would want them to.

    I tested it out on Robert Louis Stevenson PID#KJPF-NJQ by attaching the Label: AUTHORS AND WRITERS and at the same time I included the following URL:
    https://www.biography.com/people/robe...

    Now when you click on the label in the gray area containing his name and photo, the label does take you to the Authors and Writers listing. However, if you click on VIEW the URL that was attached doesn't work and it does NOT take you to the above URL but instead gives you a warning that you are leaving FamilySearch (OK) and then when you click on OK you get about:blank
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  • Ron Tanner addressed this area tonight on his live Q&A facebook session. He basically indicated that the labels would be controlled (I suspect in a manner similar to Standardized Places), but not everything is in place yet. It may take a while, but the plans are that the labels will eventually include significant historical events, such as wars and within a war, the military unit that was involved. Or maybe a significant battle, such as Gettysburg for the American Civil War, or Pearl Harbor for World War II.

    This is going to be one of those areas that is still being worked on and I suspect it will be at least six or more months before we see anything significant in terms of a method to get labels added.

    Right now, it is LDS-event heavy, but given time, I suspect it will become world-wide in terms of labels.
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  • Three months after this thread was initiated I am still none the wiser regarding what "Labels" is all about. As asked previously, is it a feature unique to FS Family Tree, or do other software programs have an equivalent feature?

    I could accept its usefulness if it were to relate exclusively to events connected to LDS members and families, but I can't see I'll ever use it - even if the feature is expanded. The whole "limited resources" argument (for not introducing truly useful enhancements) is lost when the developers have been given the go-ahead to spend so much time on something like this.

    I would be only too pleased if a FamilySearch employee were to contribute to this thread and explain why I am totally wrong in thinking introduction of this feature should have been way down any list of priorities.
    • Fortunately, it is down the list of priorities, but it was something that someone wanted to introduce. And once the cat was out of the bag...
    • In my opinion, it is not a particularly useful feature.

      What was really disappointing was the response to my question about expanding the couple relationship area, which Ron (and others) continues to call the "Spousal" relationship area.

      Talk about a narrow-minded approach that is steeped in the "if it isn't proper, then it shall not be mentioned" mentality that is common among some portions of society. But, enough of my soapbox.

      At some point, the developers/designers will come to their senses and recognize that what happened in a previous iteration is not the issue, but that open edit means also being able to properly categorize all events in their proper place. That is the only way this thing is ever going to achieve the directive to produce a work that is "which shall be worthy of all acceptation."
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  • 3
    By my count there are now 42 major categories of labels on familysearch. To be truly useful labels need to expand to the 10's of thousands in number. This will allow it to capture the variety of how people can be categorized. At that scale familysearch will have to give up requiring users to request a label from a central authority but allow users to create them directly.

    There are other collaborative family trees that use the concept of "labels" to tag profiles.

    For example Geni.com has been doing this for 7 years but on geni labels are called "projects." Users can create projects and more importantly they can explain on a project page the purpose of their projects and actually have back and forth discussions on the intent of the project with other users. Many projects are location and event centric and have proved to be useful in collaborating on a particular location and the residents of that location. A few examples of Projects; Mayflower Passengers, Jewish Genealogy Portal, Sephardic Family Trees Cleanup Taskforce, Nunes Vaz Family, Early Mormon Leaders and The Alliance Colony. There are 10's of thousands of non USA projects on geni so it really encourages users to think globally when doing family history.

    Here's a youtube link on geni projects https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_co...

    Should familysearch continue to develop the labels feature I would hope that it would develop some ways to make labels more collaborative like other sites.
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  • 1
    Okay. One of my relatives is Milton S. Hershey, who founded the Hershey Chocolate Company, was an successful entrepreneur, and a philanthropist. I was able to identify three labels that fit his accomplishments.

    But on the other hand, I have the immigrant ancestor to the Wyckoff family, Pieter Claesen. There is no label that fits this person who arrived about 1636. While I can appreciate the desire not to have everyone create their own labels, there needs to be a method for adding labels to the list, much the same as there is a means to have places added to the standards list.
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  • 2
    At last an explanation of what Labels is all about! Sorry, but I'm still not convinced it is that useful a feature. This sort of detail could be included in Life Sketch. There will never be a label for everything, so many important characteristics and activities of your ancestors / relatives will still never be highlighted on the person page. The developers' valuable time would have been far better utilised in introducing important enhancements that would prove to be of universal benefit to Family Tree users. I can't see I'll ever be adding labels to anyone in FT.
    • I agree, Paul.

      The Life Sketch or stories are where information contained in (or implied by) the labels really belongs. If anything, a label is nothing more that a prideful badge of honor.
    • Note, if they will eventually be used for locating all members of a certain group of people, that is one thing, but the way this is shaking out, it looks like they are not going to be that useful.

      I given a certain amount of money (and time) to various charities. Does that make me a philanthropist? Where does one draw the line?

      What makes a person a "Famous American" -- someone like a serial killer is famous. So do you label them that way, too? Or do they have to appear in one or more "Who's Who" publications to be "famous"? These are all matters of pride.

      As far as that goes, many people know how to manipulate other peoples' thinking and so be illusionists -- magicians. Do they have to have an act to earn that label? Or be a member of a guild or professional organization?

      The whole idea of labels is ludicrous to start with. Sure, I've labeled Milton Hershey (my third cousin, three times removed), but I do not plan to label any other relatives and may even remove the labels I have attached.

      This is, in my opinion, a bad idea and wasted a lot of "limited resources" that could have been better spent fixing problems or developing features that are truly needed, such as being able to correct index issues, expanding the couple relationship area, and getting rid of obsolete code from earlier systems with the latest technology for the site.
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  • Great discussion here. I wanted to get some feedback.
    What if instead of labels it were possible to put hashtags like #pioneer in the Person's lifesketch or notes and let those be full-text searchable? That way I could search for #pioneer and all the Persons with that hashtag would return in the search - probably sorted by relationship to me. Twitter searches use this as well as many other sites. Love to hear your comments.
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    So it seems links work in labels now, but it seems that people may be attaching them arbitrarily. IMO someone needs to moderate it so there is somewhat a sense of order on these things.
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    I see no benefit to the "badges." Key items of information can be noted in stories, documents, sources and under "Other Information" section. Hashtags are just another form of "badges" unnecessary as well. Just my opinion.
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  • I’m happy
    Joe: Hashtags work for me. I like the labels because you can attach LINKS to websites the way it is set up now. However, I do think a listing of predetermined label titles would be better than open text. But if you decide to go with searchable hashtags I'm all for it because you then can find a listing of the people that are so tagged.
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  • Ron Tanner, in a recent Q&A session talked about labels and how FamilySearch will need to provide a means to suggest a label and an approval process. Right now, the whole labels concept is in the early stages of development. I suspect that one will eventually be able to search the tree using any established label.
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