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Note field to help indexers explain reasoning to reviewers.

A small note field as part of each record could be helpful to arbitrators or others reviewing our work. We could, (but would not be required to), note our thought processes that lead to a solution. As an example I was indexing Alexander O. Redentz. None of the "R" names in the list were even close. The lawyer and/or the Clerk made an exaggerated flourishing letter "R" for the start of the last name. and separated the "O" with a period as an initial. All of the writers clearly showed the "tz" ending. The groom Signed the name by connecting the "O" and the "r". When I used the "O" as the first letter and the "tz" as the last letter only one name came up Overholtz. I could just hear the poor man trying to explain the name was Alexander ----- Orderholz not Alexander O. anything. A quick check of that counties records revealed many Overhauls, OverHaus, Overall, and similar names.
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  • I have little hope that my two cents will even be read, but try I must. This string was started over four years ago and still the problems continue. There is nothing more that can or needs to be said except that indexers are being turned off because we cannot seem to get answers.
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  • Even a field per image or batch would do, to point out something to the arbitrator, and for the arbitrator to point out something back to the indexer. I've often arbitrated several batches where one indexer - perhaps the same person - is making the same mistake with almost every entry and it would be nice if I could tell them what or why they're doing wrong rather than hoping they'll realise. Likewise, as indexer, for example, pointing out that a barely readable name appears again clearly on the next page.
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  • I’m frustrated
    I agree with all of the above. But why is it that this issue has been raised over 4 years ago but nothing has been done about it, and it leads to frustration on the part of indexers and I wonder how many have been put off so much that they have stopped indexing.

    Another area that I would like to see is when a whole batch is ? a note to the indexer as to why. If I need to see the one or two errors I have made in indexing a record surely I need to be informed what I did wrong for them to query the whole batch.
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    • Barbera, is it not nice that you get to explain your reasoning? The lowly indexers would like the privilege.
    • rgbarnes46, I don't understand your comment. I was just giving Olive possible reasons why an arbitrator would return a batch. Neither the indexers, of which I'm one also, or the arbitrators get to explain why an arbitrator marked something wrong or why a batch was returned.
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  • Olive is correct on both counts. I am both an indexer and an arbitrator and am frustrated in both areas. When I index, I get just as angry and frustrated as everyone else when an arbitrator fails to follow instructions. I have no problem with an arbitrator disagreeing with me over handwriting because that's just a difference of opinion even though I may still feel I am correct.

    By the same token, when I am arbitrating and see an indexer trying very hard to do things correctly, but making one or two errors over and over; if I could just send them a note telling them what they are missing in the instructions, I feel they would do the next batch correctly. Sometimes that is all they need and it might make the difference in whether they give up indexing or whether they will keep trying. Just a little extra bit of encouragement or a personal touch kind of thing may make all the difference.

    I especially agree with Olive on the ? issue. How in the world does this solve anything if you don't know what it means. You don't know if it means the batch was returned because you did something wrong or if it was returned because you and the arbitrator agreed it was an NED. If you are doing a lot of indexing, how would you remember which batch it was? Support could at least change the color of the ? to distinguish it from an agreement. Would that be so difficult?
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  • I’m angry
    After four years I am still angry that the powers that be have chosen to ignore the slave labor. No respect for indexers, the time they spend, and skills that they bring to the task. One ignorant arbitrator decides they are right and the indexer is wrong so they trash serious work without ever finding out the truth.
    I have seen the results of these errors from the researcher side. Ancestors who were arbitrated wrongly are almost impossible to find. A good indexer who knows the types of errors that indexers and arbitrators make can wade through the garbage and uncover documents that when viewed illustrate how poorly the process was done. A sad state of affairs.
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  • I’m frustrated
    Thanks to slotbuddy and Barbara for their comments re notes. I have just had a batch returned in which I had marked "Infant" as blank because it did not say how old, and it has been returned arbitrated as 0. If I could have had a note I could have told the arbitrator my interpretation is that it should be "blank".

    However I understand that someone other than the arbitrator looks at the Please Reviews so maybe that's reason to hope.

    But I agree that all this is very discouraging and from time to time say "why do I bother".
    • A basic indexing guideline is to mark the age as Blank when only Infant is given, but many times the specific Project Instructions or Field Helps say that when "Infant" is the only indication of age, index the age as 0. So it really depends on the specific project. So if the instructions for this project don't say to mark Infant as 0, you were right to Blank it.
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  • another thing that makes me cross is when indexing father's surname and mother's surname if you get it wrong that counts as two errors. Surely it is reasonable to suppose they are the same. So much so I've given up worrying about my % (even though I would be concerned if it dropped too low) as it would be higher if arbitrators did not make so many errors.
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  • I've commented before to this topic - I think being able to comment is vital. I've indexed records that I have knowledge of the family or the town and when the name/street was unreadable, I knew what it was. The arbitrator 'corrected' it, but it was wrong and it bothers me that inaccuracy will go out in public and perhaps keep others from finding the record. PLEASE consider adding that field. I know I probably index less because of this issue - when I can't explain why I did what I did.
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  • I know a few people who are already using the new program that we have been promised. It pretty much eliminates the use of arbitrators. However, it still has only been offered to a few chosen people and is not available to everyone. I haven't used it myself so I can't comment on it but have been told that it does make indexing faster once you get used to it. No one seems to know when it will become available for general use or why it hasn't become available to more indexers. It doesn't allow for the communication that we were seeking, but seems to work more or less like the obits where if the two indexers match, then it just goes straight to support to check before being published kind of thing. If the two indexers don't match, it goes to a 3rd indexer; no arbitrator involved.

    The people who have used it are very experienced individuals who have been indexing and arbitrating for many, many years and while they do feel it will get the work out faster, they still don't think it is a good idea to abandon arbitration completely. Kind of feel it is like throwing the baby out with the bath water because we may be indexing faster but sacrificing accuracy. They still felt we should be testing and training our arbitrators better and using communication between indexers and arbitrators instead. But this is only their opinion and they aren't the top brass and have no say in the matter.
    • I do the pilot program and there is no arbitration in it. There's only one person indexing the batch and a reviewer who checks the indexer's work. If the reviewer disagrees with what the indexer entered, he changes it. However, if a certain percentage of the fields disagree with the indexer, the batch is then sent to a second reviewer. There will be no Arbitration Results feature and no percentage to frustrate people. All values entered (indexer, reviewer, and second reviewer if necessary) will be saved (as opposed to the arbitrator's values only being saved) and will be searchable in Family Search. So, for example, if they each interpreted the name spelling differently, whatever the researcher put into Search in FS can match or come close to any of the spellings given for that image.

      The new program will allow for quicker publication in Family Search of the records since they don't have to go to two indexers and then wait for an arbitrator to work on them. The program itself is quite different in looks and in some of the features, and there are only a couple of things I like about it compared with the old one. Those working on it have been giving feedback to Family Search about bugs and issues, and FS is working on those things.

      Quite a number are using the web-based pilot program, but I think they have so many people now that they don't need more. They're still asking those of us working on it to continue doing more in the old program.
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