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Working together in FamilyTree with other community users.

Here is an idea I've been considering but would like some feedback. THis may never be implemented.

When you (a user) is looking at a Person/Relationship they can see:
- All the users that have contributed to that Person/relationship
- All the users watching that Person
- All the users that are live - currently logged in and viewing that Person or on one that Person's family members.

1. You could open one of those user's contact card and message them. Maybe even chat with them if they are live.

2. I think any user that participated in FT must let their contact card be shown to other users (it already is that way for conclusion contributions and changelog).

3. I think any user that participated in FT must always be able to receive a message from another user - that's a core principle of an open-edit community tree. So a User couldn't block messages from another User.

4. I do understand the desire to broadcast to all those users. I'm nervous about letting a User broadcast message a bunch of users with one send, and that boradcast would not be allowed.

Broadcast seems like a great spamming potential. I know you may want to just send one message to all those 100 users. But would you want messages from all the users that happen upon that ancestor. "Hey, we're related! How are you related to Grandpa Jack?" The messages may be very detailed about research and ideas, but could easily be from new beginners that just attached a hint and new to the system and not afraid to broadcast to meet all those users.

Maybe we may want to get to being able to broadcast messages from one user to the other 100, but maybe we could show correlation between the groups of users (watchers, contributors, there-right-now) to filter it down to the set of users that you really want to communicate to. Also if one:100 messaging is allowed, how does that get showed and managed in the User Messaging UI? Do you want to be able to turn off some users that you don't want to keep bothering you?

5. Consider Discussions. Most the time a broadcast is going to be like this: "Hey, I found this other birth certificate and want to change the birthdate of Jack. Is that OK?" Well, that is exactly what Discussions is for. But the UI buries that capability and we need to have more immediate notification when a user posts to Discussions.

A more cohesive approach should consider this community user visibility, Discussions, and Changelog.

So there's a lot to consider. But I'd like to hear your thoughts. Think, helpful users, and not so helpful users and how they help/hinder your work and what you want as impedance to noisy communication.
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  • Off topic: Is there a means for me to contact you privately?
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  • These are some great potential features, Joe. I have concerns with items 3 and 4.

    Item 3 -- there may be a case when I am in the middle of some serious work on another person and do not want to be distracted. It would be nice to temporarily make such communication, "Not available at this time" with the option of joining it at a later time.

    I'm not sure how that could be implemented, but maybe with the idea that such a communication open another tap (or window) in the browser, so as to not disturb the current activity.

    And that leads to item 4. No broadcasting.

    Item 4 -- While I agree that such a feature could lead to spam, my feeling is that it would never go to persons who are not signed in at the time the message goes out.

    In other words, normal messaging can continue as it exists today, but this would be unique collaboration system, one that is intended to engage people who are currently signed in and active on FamilySearch with their computer or mobile device. It would not make a connection if the twenty-minute timeout had occurred.

    It that was the case, then I would be in favor of a broadcast.

    But, there should also be a means to capture the message and report it (not as spam, but as some unrelated (to Family History and genealogy) or inappropriate (abusive / stalking) message -- in other abuse of the system and something that would be disabled if the person sending was guilty of sending inappropriate messages. Along with this establish rules of "netiquette" that could be adopted from the old BBS netiquette rules.

    Just some ideas to the thinking.

    Thanks for raising this idea... it could lead to much better collaboration.
    • view 2 more comments
    • No, I don't think you've missed anything. But you have brought up an important point -- getting to those users who are watching a person's details for changes. Then, some kind of bulk messaging (to be left on the person's messages page) is also needed, but with a way to report inappropriate messages and, a way to opt out of the messages...

      But, yes, an on-line chat connection could also be helpful.

      For instance, when I started responding to your comment, it was only four minutes old. If we could open up a chat session, we could toss ideas back and forth...
    • And yes, Messages from other users (conversations) have an option to report abuse. It is hidden in the upper right corner of the message space under Options which is not very prominent.
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  • I’m Frustrated; and, Disappointed
    Joe

    It is, both, frustrating; and, disappointing, that two (x2) relatively recent SIMILAR posts in this Forum on this very subject came to 'naught'.

    They being:

    Robert Wren
    Year ago
    Collaboration Needed to Avoid Duplications and Resolve Misunderstandings
    https://getsatisfaction.com/familysea...

    and,

    Mine
    8 Months ago
    Please provide (ie. add) a "Pop Up" / "Drop Down" Box, with a LIST of Users/Patrons who are WATCHING an individual a User/Patron is CHANGING
    https://getsatisfaction.com/familysea...

    The two (x2) biggest problems/issue/concerns raised by other participants in this Forum were that of (1) "Privacy"; and, (2) "Spam Mail"; personally, neither of which I considered to be a problem/issue/concern at all.

    Just bring up ( 'dredging up' ) the past

    Brett
    • The privacy/spam issue could be resolved via my suggestions. The option of "opting out" of receiving such messages with the person sending them being notified that says, this person does not accept these messages at this time. Use the normal message means, which will notify the person they have a message awaiting them.

      In other words, opt out of all broadcast / watch messages/discussions
      still get normal messages left by other users -- Opt-out or receive notification of such messages.

      As Joe point out, the idea is open for suggestions, but "may never be implemented."
    • By the way, Robert's discussion from a "Year ago" is worth looking at. He makes some important points, especially when it comes to FamilySearch doing more along the lines of promoting collaboration.. This would go a long way to help that, and should get a lot more attention than the ongoing inane "campaigns" which try to engage people in research.
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  • Excellent idea - we are desperately short of genuinely collaborative tools. Some comments:
    1. Messaging group 3 - "All the users that are live - currently logged in and viewing that Person or on one that Person's family members"
    I really don't see the point of this one - it could be so transient that it's just pot luck if you catch them. And half of them will say, "I was only looking!"

    2. Re numbers - in the sort of areas that I work with, I'd be surprised to see more than 5 or 6 watchers and other contributors in total. (I'm ignoring Group 3). So I don't see any spamming potential!

    3. I might want to mute future messages about a particular PID if all I did was standardise a place name or if I unmerged someone from "my" relative. Probably best to do that when I get an unwanted message rather than stick the mute button into all possible exits after an update.

    4. There might be a need to mute certain users overall because they try your sanity but that should surely be a facility in messaging anyway. That, I would say, always takes precedence over the open edit requirement.

    5. Yes, there might be overlap with Discussions so designers with a stake in Discussions might push back. All I can say is that I've never yet seen a Discussion used as that - I use them because (if I recall correctly) another idiot can't corrupt your note. Maybe, as suggested, such a messaging system might benefit Discussions because you could message interested parties to say: "Please see this Discussion that I just started on this profile." In fact, that might be an automatic all-interested- parties message that didn't need your intervention.

    One way or another, I reckon that we need to have the facility to send one message to all parties with one click.
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  • 3
    I think we are treading on thin ice with the "muting" and "Opt-out" ideas. In the current context, the messaging is so that when you see a change by a specific person, in order to collaborate with them you absolutely must be able to contact them.

    There are many people that don't want to be bothered by others "complaining" about the work they are doing in the tree, even when they are screwing up things royally and keep repeating the same mistakes, and refusing to be helped by someone that has more of a clue than they do.

    ABSOLUTELY IN NO WAY should somebody be able to "Turn off" messages that are being sent to them with comments or questions regarding things that they have done to the tree!!!

    By providing that capability, you are basically giving people another way to bypass the collaboration that is ESSENTIAL to the success of a shared FamilyTree!!

    I personally believe that if should be mandatory for EVERYONE with an account on FS to provide an e-mail address in the system. This does not have to be visible to anyone, but whenever a message is sent to a person regarding changes that they made to the tree, it should ALSO be copied to their e-mail and there should be no way to opt out of it.

    If somebody is going to have the power to modify on a whim, any record that exists in the tree at any time, it should be MANDATORY that anyone can contact them somehow in order to discuss the changes that they made

    A lot of the people that don't want to hear you are the same ones that won't bother responding. There are too many people who want to go in and change anything that they want without have to provide any detailed reasoning on it. The ability to direct questions toward them about what they have done should never be blocked.
    • view 5 more comments
    • To pick up on one concern - to me, the context for this discussion includes a constraint on the requirements / design, which is that it should use the existing FamilySearch messaging system (with its ability to copy to email) as the underlying transmission mechanism. No extra bright, shiny things to be bought or developed.

      If that mechanism won't support the functions we need, fair enough but that's my initial thought. So I don't see the need for any ability to turn off collaborative broadcasting (say) in order to concentrate on something because you can just not look at the FS messaging or your email.
    • Exactly. There needs to be a distinct and very literal traceability from any new implementations to specific problems that existed or essential needed capabilities that were not in the system. Many of the "nice to have" features don't solve any essential needs.

      The KISS process is a forgotten idea sometimes.
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  • Brett, Thank you for linking my "Collaboration" post of a year ago.

    https://getsatisfaction.com/familysea...

    My summary at the end might be appropriate here:

    A (THE) key to solving merging, duplication and various other problems may very well lie in one of the fundamental reasons for creating FSTree as open-edit. That key is 'encouraging collaboration' and setting up methods to better utilize the concept!!!

    One can collaborate with another person, or maybe a dozen or two, but is virtually impossible to cooperate with a hundred, or worse, several million. This is especially true when the many of the directly interested parties are not even KNOWN (aka those who are fellow ANONYMOUS users on the 'Watch list")

    At some point when there are frequent 'back and forth' merges, change, duplications and disagreements, without any apparent resolution, when it becomes apparent that after months, or years, without resolution of those differences; it would seem only logical for some interested party (or parties) to be able to call a temporary HOLD on changes to a PID.

    This would 'encourage' or 'require' collaboration by those interested parties to open a discussion in a virtual 'meeting' to come to an understanding on the issue - or possibly to end up with two or three alternatives to adjudicate over a longer period of time.

    FSTree was created in a 'modified' Wiki format. MOST Wiki's require moderating or some type of approval or supervision. That's true of the FamilySearch Wiki; it's true of Wikipedia. It likely needs to be true in FamilySearch, at least, in some limited fashion.

    MOST entries in FSTree do NOT have a huge problem with multiple differing opinions. But the completely uncontrolled open-edit concept of FamilySearch will result (is resulting) in ongoing chaos for many of the billion PID's. How many, I do not know, but FS massive computing power should be able to analyze the quantity. I guesstimate maybe only 1 to 3% of my small 'branch' - but they may create 50% of my frustration. I would far prefer further research than repeated corrections or simply giving up.

    That topic was based on the principle espoused in the formulative document for the FamilySearch Tree - an excellent (but ignored - IMHO) document: "THE CASE FOR MOVING TO “OUR TREE”

    http://broadcast.lds.org/eLearning/fh...
    • Robert, Thanks for repeating those truths here. The fact is that things like:

      - the GEDCOM compare tool
      - collaboration messaging that you can "opt-out" of, and
      - the absence of reasonable moderation for activities in the FSFT

      ALL DESTROY COLLABORATION! They all allow people to bypass the common sense of collaboration and do whatever they want to the data in the tree without having to be accountable for what they are doing.

      When you want to work with folks in a collaborative way to resolve issues, but they choose not to, you are powerless and have no recourse. I know people who have given up trying to put together names for temple work knowing that it is hopeless trying to get certain people educated to the point that they understand (and indeed are WILLING) to stop repeatedly scrambling things.
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  • Um...what is "contact card" and what is "broadcast" (I'm confused)?
    • "Contact card" - this is the popup card that opens up when you click on a user's name in Family Tree. It is how you can contact that user. The user specifies what information they want made public. You can send an internal message through the contact card to another user.

      "Broadcast" - means to send a message to a group of users at once.
      For example if you wanted to message everyone who is watching or has contributed to a person in the Family Tree you could send one message and broadcast it to all those users at once.
    • Thanks, Amy!
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  • 2
    I'm not really interested in GROUP messaging everyone who has touched a person or who is watching a person.

    However, I do feel that with the current messaging options, we are missing the ability to message those who are "watching" the person.

    I have made the assumption that for the most part, the watchers have probably been a contributor and I can find them in the change log. However, with merges the change log on the surviving person is not complete, yet the watchers from the merged persons are on the surviving person.

    I have had times where it would be good to notify all the watchers first before I "disconnect" that person from a relationship. 50 years of family members passing on incorrect information ... where the attached sources today show otherwise ... it would be great to get all the watchers on the same page before I made the change, so that they stopped changing it back and forth until all 10 people figured out that the source, not the folklore was true. Could have saved hours of work and hours of back and forth communication.

    My suggestion is to reveal who are the "watchers" and a link to their contact card for collaboration.
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    • All schemes for control by patrons run into the same issue. What happens when the controlling patrons don't react? Perhaps because they're dead or otherwise incapacitated?

      Well, we know from experience with so-called locked profiles of famous people - someone simply creates their own version of the real life human being and we end up with duplicates that aren't quite the same and no ability to merge even if the "truth" gets agreed.

      Collaboration - yes. Control of profiles by tiny groups of self appointed custodians - no.
    • see response in post below, 'comments' seem to get lost
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  • Re muting. I had two cases that led me to suggest muting.

    Firstly, "I might want to mute future messages about a particular PID if all I did was standardise a place name or if I unmerged someone from "my" relative."

    If I can't do that, then this could discourage me from, say, helping someone to get some data correct, because I really don't want to be pestered about someone where I don't actually know anything about that person's life, only about the IT system aspects of their data.

    With the unmerging angle, I am thinking of a case where I effectively unmerged Ann X of Derbyshire from Ann X of Cheshire - the latter being my relative. I don't really want to be pestered with someone asking me about Ann X of Derbyshire again.

    There are counter-arguments to what I've just said - if I've not explained my role adequately, for instance.

    Secondly, "There might be a need to mute certain users overall because they try your sanity ... "

    I guess the counter-proposal would be - well, just ignore the idiot, but my impression is that most messaging systems do include some sort of "ignore this idiot" function and omitting it could lead to people regarding the FS messaging system as naive.

    There is a further aspect - the requirement for privacy, etc., might need a mute button of some sort. This really is something that would require legal advice. The counter-argument is that collaboration is a basic function of FS FT and therefore FS FT needs its users to participate in such messaging and they shouldn't be surprised by such messaging. The counter-counter-argument to that is that FS FT hasn't used such messaging in the past, so it can't be a fundamental requirement to use messaging in order to participate in FS FT.
    • view 1 more comment
    • In your first point. Getting messages because you simply touched something in a PID record might create a lot of noise for you depending on how it is implemented. But right now I have NEVER received any message about setting a standard value because nobody considered it an issue. And if they did , they SOULD be able to message me. It works fine.

      But if the fact that you touched something on a PID automatically added you to a big message broadcast list, then YES I would want to turn it off. It would be far better just to not have the automatic attach to broadcast lists in the first place.

      And with the unmarking angle, if someone did have a question or so about their side of the unmerge, I would tell them that that is not a line that I am researching (i.e., I’m not related). However, inevitably because I was researching in order to correctly unmerge, I will have come across items that that person might be interested in so I would use the opportunity to pass that information on to them. So in this case, have the system works now again would seem to be appropriate.
    • I'm inclined to say, Jeff, that I agree with your logic perhaps more than I agree with my own! (I did say there were counter-arguments...)

      But I do worry about the (emotional?) reaction of many users of this site if they can't opt out of some new facility - too often I've seen massive disagreement with changes that make perfect sense to me, so my "muting" suggestions were designed to deal with that before it happened.

      The other aspect that I am concerned about is that I have absolutely no idea what the messaging volume could be like if someone was able to message all watchers and previous-contributors with one click. I always put any of my relatives that I've updated (and their children) onto my watch list - my watch list report volume would surely therefore be similar in size to my proposed bulk messaging volume - i.e. perfectly acceptable. For those people who say that they have updated tens of thousands of profiles, their volume might be different and they might need a muting facility.
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  • Sorry to put a damper on some very positive ideas, but I just don't see some of them will do anything to improve collaboration.

    Recently, I have written to several individuals who have contributed (vitals inputs, etc.) to persons I am watching. Only one has replied. How are suggestions involving contact availability being "mandatory" going to improve collaboration? If I had sent a message to an email address rather than by the internal messaging facility would that have produced a different response from the individual I was desperate to get answers from (regarding his detailed inputs that had no sources or reason statements attached)?

    I can see the sense of it being a condition of use of the website that FamilySearch contacts the intended recipient of a message by email, to advise there is a message for them In Family Tree. Many users go months without using the program, so would not even know there was a message for them otherwise. But I don't see a copy of the message itself being included in the FamilySearch email being essential.

    Each to his/her own, but I NEVER take part in "live" communication - visual (Skype) or otherwise - any typed responses from me would be far too slow! However, I can see this is something that would suit many users - depending on the time zone factor!

    I believe a few contributors to this thread are just being far too optimistic about what any "new rules" would achieve. In any case, things can work both ways and you could find an individual seeking to contact another user ending up unreasonably pestering them for information / explanations. There could be genuine reasons for not getting a prompt response - an extended holiday, illness, or the person might even have died! And I don't think I am exaggerating in saying some Family Tree participants might have mental health problems - someone actually posted on this forum that her relative was making ridiculous inputs due to this fact.

    In summary, I don't think we should be too judgemental about responses (of lack of them) from fellow users and, as far as possible, any proscriptive changes involving contacting them should be avoided.
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  • Adrian,

    "All schemes for control by patrons run into the same issue."

    ALL "schemes:???

    "What happens when the controlling patrons don't react?"

    Any "control" suggested (by me) would be short term - temporary. (And noted as 'monitored by a group as "watchers." who are collaborating?? - which might 'caution' people proposing corrections?)

    "Perhaps because they're dead or otherwise incapacitated?"

    Then they likely will NOT respond.

    "Well, we know from experience with so-called locked profiles of famous people - someone simply creates their own version of the real life human being and we end up with duplicates that aren't quite the same and no ability to merge even if the "truth" gets agreed."

    I agree, do you have a solution? In general a well documented PID SHOULD win over an unsourced one - and they can be merged (when the sourced is unlocked.- If not, we just get MORE of the same.)

    "Collaboration - yes. Control of profiles by tiny groups of self appointed custodians - no."

    Currently, by restricting the ID of "Watchers" ( who, likely, are those who are very interested in the PID) FamilySearch has stymied most meaningful collaboration. NOT "control," just acknowledged "collaboration."

    Personally, I 'watch' a few hundred of my thousands in my branch. The biggest problems seem to be early immigrant ancestors. (I don't have an extensive LDS ancestry.) Current message response, in my experience is less than 30 % - I receive VERY few FSemails origianating a discussion.
    May I suggest reviewing the White Paper goals?
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    • Adrian,

      (30% was perhaps too high)

      The White Paper defined the goals of FamilySearch TREE to correct the problems with the "old" "NewFamilySearch"

      It's well worth reading (IMO) to understand WHY this version of FamilySearch Tree was created. http://broadcast.lds.org/eLearning/fh...

      The only "LDS" mention was this "Since its release, it is apparent that the duplication of information was a more serious problem than previously understood. Some individuals have hundreds of duplicate records.
      They have thousands of pieces of information, mostly inaccurate.
      Many of these large records are early LDS Church members with many descendants."

      Germane to THIS topic, it states - "Community roles will provide expert
      community members the tools they need to monitor activity in the tree, resolve issues, and “lock” ancestors when heated issues need a chance to cool before further changes are made."

      I do appreciate your input and your attempts in "simply trying to keep (your) relatives straight." It greatly aids the ENTIRE FStree - It would be great if more would understand!!
    • "Community roles will provide expert community members the tools they need to monitor activity in the tree, resolve issues, and “lock” ancestors when heated issues need a chance to cool before further changes are made."

      Oh crikey... Progress towards that aim? Not a lot?
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  • Paul,

    For my part, in my comments, I was not suggesting the ability to email patrons directly. Only by the current messaging capability. That would automatically be forwarded to a person's email the way it is now--only with the inability to turn that off.

    The situation with people that don't reply shouldn't be a problem. I usually make a documented correction FIRST in a record and THEN I send a message to the person letting them know that I just corrected a record that they had modified. The content of that message usually contains a copy-paste of the reason statements or Notes that I entered in the record. I close with a statement something like "If for any reason you don't agreed with my changes, or have extra information related to them, please send me a note so that we can get this record documented accurately"

    If I get no response and they make no further changes (that record is on my watch list), then I am done.

    If they respond with further information, great! We can resolve any misunderstandings either of us may have about the record and get it updated.

    BUT if I get no response and they just go in and change the record again (usually without a reason statement), I will return to the record and correct it a second time, again messaging the person afterwards informing them of the second reversal of their changes and indicating why I did this. If I again get no response but they go back and change things once again, there is now enough evidence in the change history for the record AND your messages log to that person about the record (showing their absence of responses), that it can all be submitted to Customer Service to arbitrate on.

    Since you KNOW that the other person has received your comments (remember, opt-out shouldn't be possible) then it is up to Customer Service to contact them and inform them of their violation of the collaboration process.

    Unfortunately, so far it sort of appears that Customer Service either just doesn't want to get involved, or they have been directed to stay out of such situations. If this is still the case then you have no recourse at all to FS's irresponsibility.

    This whole topic thread on discussions about messaging any of the people interested in a PID is all about improving collaboration. When somebody refuses to abide by the rules of collaboration (most of which are just items of civility and communication) then somebody needs to arbitrate the issue and the fact that someone is not abiding by their user agreement. Again though, in this case, the only people with the authority to arbitrate appear to be choosing to avoid any entanglements.

    You can add all of the inter-patron communication capabilities that you want, but if someone refuses to use them, they are useless. Furthermore, if the capabilities that are added that actually HELP people to AVOID collaboration (e.g., opt-outs), then it is worse than useless as it destroys collaboration.
    • Jeff

      When you read Joe's post carefully you see he does not directly refer to the negative side of things, just how we might be able to improve collaboration on a one-to-one basis or as a group who share the same (ID) interests.

      As far as the related matter we are more concerned about - irresponsible users who add / change data without reason, then after we have changed it back with a clear reason statement, still go and change the detail back without them adding any reasons / sources - there have been posts raised here for many years. Unfortunately, FamilySearch employees have made it clear this is not considered as "abuse" and they do not intend to take any sanctions, whatever the level of unacceptable behaviour. If any FamilySearch employee refutes this, let them come here and give examples of how they HAVE ensured certain users (abusers) only have read-only access or have received any other sanctions for their disruptive work.

      Joe is probably correct when he says, "This may never be implemented", even though his comments deal with positive ideas on collaboration. FamilySearch management has never shown any interest in the realities (positive or negative) of dealing with fellow FT users and I can't see why any change of attitude should be forthcoming.
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  • Here is a thought, and I did not take the time to read through the last few comments (since I last responded), but suppose that clicking on watch automatically and without recourse, opens up the user's account to receiving messages about the person they are "watching."

    Lack of response to collaboration messages could result in the person no longer on the user's watch list.

    Note, I have seen a number of changes that were good and required no action from me, but I still like to see those, so if I wanted to continue to see changes to that person, I would have to respond to a message (not just a change) that was sent to everyone on the watch list.

    Of course, there is the case where a user does not log into FamilySearch for extended periods of time (months or even more than a year), but then, why are they watching any person in the tree, anyway?
    • view 5 more comments
    • But, only if Notes cant be altered by another individual—Discussions remains the only place I can put a PID of the individual he should be connected to—but I cant keep the relationship due to the Williams Tsar that disconnects everyone she disagrees with on my early Colonial NC-VA ancestor.
    • I have found in a number of cases where a note and discussion were both entered for a person's record, but there was essentially no difference between the two. The discussion happened to be one of those "Legacy" things and the note contained on the year of the person's birth (which had been fully sourced and documented). Neither was useful.
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  • The original topic dealing with inter-patron communications seemed focused on messaging solutions, but the following issues keep coming up in ration to it.

    For as long as there has been Genealogical programs, there has ALWAYS been the ability to record NOTES against a specific person's record. This is a standard, ESSENTIAL feature and exists everywhere. Those notes have always been capable of being moved between databases or GEDCOM files as easily as the normal vitals in a person record. They identify not-so-obvious reasons that the conclusions for vitals were derived from. They are a legacy part of Genealogical documentation.

    Discussions are totally different. They are proprietary to FSFT and usually CANNOT be transferred between databases or carried in GEDCOM records (obviously because they don't exist anywhere else). I believe that they were an experiment in collaboration that FS tried which didn't quite hit the mark, and they remain as an evolutionary artifact. They are usually not used as FS intended, but rather to be able to mark a person record with permanent text that cannot be erased by anyone else. Since their text migrates along with all merges, it is being used by many as a tool to combat individuals who insist on repeatedly changing well documented records without providing any justification for it. Since FS seems to be ignoring all situations like this and providing no support to people having to deal with it, Discussions are the only limited tool that anyone has as recourse for these types of situations--e.g, see:

    https://getsatisfaction.com/familysea...

    Since these "Discussions" are really just NOTES that people want to protect, when I create a discussion to mitigate people continuing to merge the wrong individuals together, I will also make a duplicate of that discussion in a note so that when I sync other databases with FT (such as my Ancestral Quest DB), I will get a copy of those notes coming across as well.

    The usage of the traditional notes are being watered down a bit by their removal from the main details page and being hidden in a "collaboration" area. As a result, people are now using the Life Sketch section on the details page as a substitute for the traditional NOTES since it is on the main details page where most people will see it. So you see more and more Life Sketches that don't really contain Life Sketch type information.

    It's sad to me that so many of these data fields are not being used for their original (and in some cases traditional) intents, and this because people are using them to deal with much larger problems that FS has not mitigated yet.
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    • An admirable summary Jeff. I think FS need to take note of the evolutions.

      1. I think that at one point it was suggested in GetSatisfaction that there was a need for a "Look you really need to read this bit, no honestly you do..." section on the front page of a person's profile. Which is part of what Life Sketch is being used for, I suspect.

      2. The permanence of Discussion notes (the phrase "Discussion notes" implies something...) results in their use for "Notes" that require permanence rather than discussions.
    • Life sketches are also pretty useless at really summarising someone's life in reality as well. The reason is that because they are not automatically, procedurally generated they suffer from a massive case of database rot and quickly become stale, outdated and divorced from the actual contents of the FSFT profile. That is an inherent problem in having something like the life sketch on any family tree, and is the more so when dealing with a multi-user system as only a very small fraction of the users will be motivated to update the things at all.

      I'm another person who basically ignores life sketches and keeps that portion of the screen collapsed. My experience is that the vast majority of profiles don't have a life sketch and that those who do have a life sketch very, very rarely have much of value in the said life sketch. Proper source citations are vastly more valuable, useful and easy to maintain than a life sketch.
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