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I’m frustrated

Make notes secure and non editable by other people

Ref email from "the FamilySearch team" below, which was sent in answer to my question that the edit link to a note at the bottom of the details tab on the person page was recently active for other peoples notes and had not been in the past.

Well, I beg to differ. At least on MY computer, the edit link on a note added by someone else has NOT appeared until last month. And the ability to delete a note added by me was NOT available to someone else. I don’t have a screen shot to prove my contention. I will say this: I have spent hundreds of hours placing my fifty years of research into the notes of over 2000 people in my ancestry in the hopes that future researches would be able to follow my work and neither duplicate it nor change it unless they had better information—I would not have spent that time if I had known that my notes could be deleted by just anyone, who may include individuals who may intend to change my data to make it look like I support THEIR opinion whether maliciously or incompetently, people who may not even be members of the church, let alone go to temple. But since you insist it has “always been that way” this argument is moot.
My suggestion is to make the notes inviolably secure. There are plenty of other ways that the effort can be “collaborative”: Nearly every vital statistic can be changed at will; Ordinance work is still being ordered for individuals whose work was done years ago as referenced by the old IGI, by people who are excited to “collaborate" but who forget or ignore the Search for Duplicates protocol; Individuals can be deleted either intentionally directly or accidentally through incomplete merge attempts. The program is certainly “collaborative”. However, my notes should be secure.
My question is: Assuming my suggestion is not accepted, how can I place a note in the file of an individual so that it is both secure and highly visible? From what your email of 7 March, it seems the discussion field may provide that. Be advised that some of my notes exceed 10,000 characters.
Thanks for you help.
Dirk

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On Mar 7, 2016, at 3:47 PM, support@familysearch.org wrote:

FamilySearch.org

Dear Dirk Sipes,

Thank you for contacting FamilySearch support regarding Notes Field.

No it hasn’t changed. The Notes object has always acted that way.

The system was designed with Collaboration in mind. Making most information on the Person Page- Details tab editable. Thus creating an environment specifically designed to allow the tree to be a shared tree and allowing a number of related people make changes in the records of individuals in your tree as information becomes available. This collaborative philosophy allows one to work with others to improve the individual records on the tree.

Yes the Notes object does operate slightly differently than the Discussion object in that anyone can delete a Note, while only an author can delete the original Discussion. Hopefully you will not delete anyone else’s note; likewise you would expect the same courtesy.

If you feel that you would like to make a suggestion that the functionality of this object be changed. Please use the “Feedback” link in FamilySearch. It is located on the bottom of every page in FamilySearch. Using this link will assure you that your suggestion gets to the individuals who can act on it.

Your support case #02154318 has been updated.

This is your original case description:
Edit window opens for other people's notes

If you have additional questions or concerns, please contact us directly by phone or chat. Click on for details.

Thank you for raising this issue.

Regards,

FamilySearch
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  • The letter is correct. The Notes field was designed to be open-edit so any user can Delete or Edit the Note. FamilyTree is a collaborative tree. You have a couple options. One you can always Restore the edit of the Note, via the CHange History on the Person. if you want your own notes then the Person Discussion allow you to create a thread and no other user can change it. Also, third party products allow you to maintain your own private tree, and push-pull that data to FamilyTree.
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    Dirk

    When you use the phrase "people who may not even be members of the church, let alone go to temple", I am sure you did not mean to insult the many thousands of non-LDS folks who are conscientious contributors to Family Tree. I have found the status of Family Tree patrons is irrelevant when it comes to being good or bad collaborators.

    Personally, I would not delete somebody's Note, but sadly there are those who do not consider what damage they might be doing when they change or remove the carefully researched detail inputted by users such as yourself.

    What needs to be addressed in using Discussions as an alternative to Notes is indeed whether there is a character limit to each field. If, for example, there is a 3000 character (or word) limit you would have to add "part 1", "part 2" etc. to the end of your headings. Try copying / pasting an item from Notes to Discussions to see exactly how much will copy across.

    I have worried about this general issue for some time and have made a point of inputting the same item (well, by using copy / paste, of course) into both Notes and Discussions, if I have been concerned about possible deletion by another patron.

    I'm sure you will still find this all very unsatisfactory (especially in view of the effort it will take to safeguard your inputs), but unfortunately I'm sure FamilySearch management have no plans to change the open-edit style of Family Tree - including the Notes section.
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  • I am for Notes, and Research, not being editable!!!! If others disagree with your research they can add their own Notes or Research, but no ones Notes or Research should be editable!!! All Notes and Research should go into “Memories” where others can not change it or delete it. Copying and pasting your Notes and Research into "Memories" will prevent it from being changed, or deleted by others.
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  • It has always concerned me that others can edit or delete my Notes. So any entries which I want to be seen (as assistance or prompts to others) go in as Discussions. I don't want them hidden in Memories.

    Sometimes I delete strange things that I see in Notes. Examples are: "fg"; "1880"; "yes"; "This won't"; "died in 1876 - died in 1876 - died in 1876 - died in 1876" (when 1876 is already entered above as his death date). Perhaps these anomalies occurred during the transfers from new.family search.

    Perhaps at the heading "Discussions" there ought to be a notification that our entries there cannot be edited by others.
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  • I’m frustrated
    The discussion field seems to be limited to about 5000 characters, the notes field is limited to about 10,000 characters, and I just tried the memories/stories field and was able to paste in about 96,000 characters that held format pretty well. I do not know if there is a limit there. (That 96,000 characters is 4 times longer than my longest note.)

    BTW
    Note to the Family Tree development team:
    It seems absurd to me that I have to go through this public blog in order to provide "feedback" to you about your software. However, back to the problem. It would be worth a try to put my research notes in as a story, but only if I can get assurances that the "story" I write will not be editable by others. I would hope that you would draw the line at collaboration somewhere, perhaps even the story page. But then, maybe you WANT others to be able to add to the story....that way the fish could always be bigger...the walk to/from school uphill all THREE ways (or is it FOUR?)....lol
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    • Yes Dirk, While in my sister's account, I am able to change a record I entered into the Note filed at the bottom of the details page.
    • OK Thanks. Please note the reply I rec'd from the FamilySearch support team below.
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    FWD email rec'd 13 March 2016:

    Dear Dirk Sipes,

    Thank you for the detailed research regarding the size that some of the objects will accept. Further, we are impressed by the depth and detail represented by your genealogical research and your desire to leave it in a place and condition where it will be of benefit to those that follow.

    The answer to your question is; NO, Stories entered under the memories tab are NOT editable by other patrons. We have personally tested the Memories Story feature and find that only the author can delete or change it!

    We are sorry about the appearance of the Feedback features in FamilySearch, it is however, the most direct path to the design team. We encourage you to take a few moments to enter a succinct description regarding the notes field and your concerns about its functionality.

    Best wishes in your efforts to “tidy” up your research.

    Warmest regards,
    FamilySearch support team
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