Are Geni ‘s Goals Compatible - Or Incompatible?

Started by Private User on Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Participants:

Profiles Mentioned:

  • <private> Baldwin
    Geni member
Showing 1-30 of 155 posts
Private User
8/2/2011 at 9:24 AM

It seems clear to me that Geni has TWO major goals:
I] Discover, get to know, and interact with your Family.
II] Create a World Tree.

As of July 31, 2011 – Geni Facebook (geni.com on Facebook) Info Page says
Company Overview Geni is a free fun tool for:
* Building your family tree.
* Preserving your family history.
* Scrapbooking the lives of you, your kids, and your whole family.
* Remembering loved ones.
* Staying in touch with your family
Mission To build the world's family tree.
http://www.facebook.com/genidotcom#!/genidotcom?sk=info

I would say that “Company Overview” (esp. "Scrapbooking..." and "Staying in touch") embodies Goal I and “Mission” is Goal II.

Again, as of July 31, 2011 – Geni Facebook (Geni.com on Facebook) says in its left-hand column:
About
Geni enables families to connect, share, and preserve their lives
Again, this is Goal I.

Many posts in these Public Discussions seem to focus on Goal II, Creating a World Tree, without giving equal emphasis to Goal I.

Do you feel the two Goals are compatible?

Private User
8/2/2011 at 9:39 AM

Yes.

Family history is a Facebook like activity done through the family group.

The world tree is a history project and quite amazing in scope and implications.

My own greater interest is family history to make world history come alive. That is why I volunter for the site and work on our shared family tree.

Private User
8/2/2011 at 9:43 AM

Lois there's a message group to share family news. Public discussions to me are for the shared historical tree. Am I wrong?

8/2/2011 at 1:12 PM

For people like me who don't have a lot of family history, I count on connecting to the world tree to discover more about my family. The active community on Geni allows me to make discoveries about my family. Of course, we are always looking to introduce features and enhancements that support both goals. That's why we take a lot of the suggestions from users at http://help.geni.com/forums/337266-feature-requests

8/2/2011 at 3:38 PM

Michelle, I want to thank you guys for all the hard work you put into this beloved site!

Private User
8/2/2011 at 4:43 PM

Part of what inspired this topic/question was a comment FRED BERGMAN made on July 27, 2011 in the Discussion, ‘New and old users will produce duplicates, because abandoned trees demotivate, discourage and confuse them!’ - http://www.geni.com/discussions/98261 - With the correction of a couple of typos, what he said was:
Geni was dualistic set up. As a social network site and as a genealogic site. That is it what now gives conflicts. On a wiki everybody knows that he has to do his research himself and protect the results by keeping those on his own harddisk in his own genealogy program. Here are a lot of users who never were taught so and the only place they have their results is on Geni. For that reason Geni must protect this group of users but that conflicts with the interests of the regular genealogists who want one big tree.More and more comes the question to the users who want privacy and protection: do you think Geni is the right place for you and then unfortunately these users must answer, no Geni is for me not the right place.............

I think he hit the nail on the head, and I think it is very important.

Private User
8/2/2011 at 5:07 PM

<private> Baldwin, in the same Discussion mentioned above, said (7/30/2011):
“ I really think that if you leave off current location and anything other that name, place of birth and birthdate for people in your immediate PERSONAL family group....and maintain that data in whatever private manner you wish....that BOTH the genealogical tree as well as privacy are addressed....

So...either start at 1900 or start yourself and put everyone in but open anyone born 1900 or before "public' but keep data to the minimum...”

This suggestion may be good for the goal of Creating a World Tree, but I do not think it is truly compatible with the Goal of Discover, get to know, and interact with your Family, and certainly is very far from "Scrapbooking the lives of you, your kids, and your whole family."

Private User
8/2/2011 at 5:26 PM

Private User – Re: “Public discussions to me are for the shared historical tree. Am I wrong?” – I believe Public discussions are for any aspects of Geni which affect all (or even just many) of us.
Do my two comments above better illustrate where I am coming from and why this is appropriate for a Public Discussion?
And do you have any responses to them?

I thought while we waited for Geni to be fully restored might be a good time to discuss this issue, which I do not think is as obviously "of course they are compatible" as the first few comments suggested.

8/2/2011 at 5:32 PM

This is a great conversation and something that we take really seriously at Geni. We want users to feel that their data is private and secure.

I understand now why you are asking if the two goals are in opposition. Making living relatives or recent ancestors public does not really help to get you on the world family tree. It is the matches that you can find by merging profiles that are several generations back and deceased where you find matches to the big tree.

Thanks for pointing out conversations where users have privacy concerns. We are working on making improvements to privacy and collaboration controls to help users feel more confident in the privacy of their information. The goal of a world family tree does not require the sacrificing of personal information about living or close relatives.

Private User
8/2/2011 at 6:03 PM

Hi Lois

Yes, it does help for you to refer back to the other conversations, which I readapt the time and thought interesting.

To paraphrase something an almond joy deserving tree builder said: I build a tree as a legacy for my family, as they are the future.

And I would say .... To provide our next generations with all the information we can, perhaps the best way is through a shared world tree.

In my own family group we are eager to go back into the unknown and connect those bits of information together.

If the concern is minor children and preserving their privacy, leave them off the tree. Leave them off the Internet. Take their photos off Facebook. Celebrities manage the information flow about their children in the media, don't we do the same here?

Geni does of course have the strict US Child Protection Acts to comply with, and I can attest from personal experience how quickly they respond on that.

But doesn't it come down to families entering the data?

<private> Baldwin
8/2/2011 at 6:24 PM

I thought this was supposed to be a genealogical tree....to connect our families and understand our heritage....

I guess I was wrong.

Private User
8/2/2011 at 7:27 PM

The world tree is genealogical and historical (can't leave that part out or we're doing lists of "begats.")

People who want to protect their children need to leave them off the Internet altogether. Nothing is 100% secure; geni does a good job with privacy, but the only sure thing is no data.

If someone is over 13 and wants to participate in genealogy and history, they will have a better time is they collaborate and build a shared tree. My own family (to fifth cousins!) has been nothing more than absolutely thrilled at the wealth of information and family history here.

Private User
8/2/2011 at 9:57 PM

Private User - Can you explain how leaving minors off the Tree is compatible with "Scrapbooking the lives of you, your kids, and your whole family."?

Private User
8/2/2011 at 10:24 PM

Scrapbooking is a Facebook like activity. It is very common on all kinds of social media.

Maybe I'm missing something obvious to you?

How is sharing family information in a private family group incompatible with building a shared world family tree of deceased persons?

8/3/2011 at 10:20 AM

I think Erica means that if you have really serious privacy concerns regarding information about children on the Internet, you can choose to leave them off all social media sites. You can, however, use Geni as a social media site where your family communicates with each other and your privacy is protected from other Geni members.

Private User
8/3/2011 at 10:27 AM

One example, may perhaps help clarify what I see as a conflict/dilemma: Someone as their closest relationship to you, is the “niece's husband's nephew's wife's niece's husband“ of your great-grandmother, whose profile they have entered [this much is one of my real cases], then

[1] on the one hand -- do you really want to merge your copy of this great-grandmother’s profile with his/hers, thus letting him/her see everything you have entered? And if this person has also entered all your great-grandmothers’ descendents, do you really want to merge all of those profiles, thus giving him/her access to all the info about your immediate family that you were wanting to share with your immediate family? Even if just the great-grandmother, do you want to share with him/her/them everything you want to share with your new-found 2nd and/or 3rd cousins you are having a great time getting to know and who share this same great-grandmother? Do you want to share this info with everybody in his/her Family Group (I believe currently they can see the info on the Profiles s/he co-manages)?
If the Goal is privately sharing within your Family Group, then the answer is no.

[2] While on the other hand – the goal is only one profile per person, of course you are supposed to merge, keeping these profiles private and refusing to merge is hindering the whole process and contrary to Geni’s goal of the World Tree

Adding to the pressure to merge all the way down (or not at all) is the fact that allowing folks to merge some profiles but not all the way down results in nasty, messy trees. Both the folks focusing on One Profile per Person for everybody, and those focusing on Sharing their Family Photos, Info, etc etc within their Family Group hate this.

8/3/2011 at 10:39 AM

Private User Thank you for bearing with me in this discussion. Your explanation helps a lot. You are correct that you are encouraged to merge in that situation because it will grow your tree. However, you don't have to have that person in your family group. You can visit their profile and select "Remove from family group". They will still be on your tree, but they will not have access to your private family information. We can certainly look into making managing your family group easier in future. Does that help with your concern?

8/3/2011 at 10:39 AM

Private User Thank you for bearing with me in this discussion. Your explanation helps a lot. You are correct that you are encouraged to merge in that situation because it will grow your tree. However, you don't have to have that person in your family group. You can visit their profile and select "Remove from family group". They will still be on your tree, but they will not have access to your private family information. We can certainly look into making managing your family group easier in future. Does that help with your concern?

Private User
8/3/2011 at 10:48 AM

Ah but Lois!

I've been "curating" (that is, actively merging together duplicates in the Word Family Tree) for getting on a year now.

My preferred method of working is to collaborate and assist the geni community creating the most accurate genealogical / historical record possible.

I do not work before 1880 or so except in my own private family group. In my FG, except for the most recently deceased / living members, we WANT our ancestors to be public and available to merge.

As with many immigrants, if there are any Holocaust survivors left in Europe, it would be truly amazing to find those cousins.

On my English / Scots ancestry side, no one knew before Geni just how we connected, how far back, how spread out we really are.

You can probably tell I am daily excited by this. It's just hard to imagine what should be kept so secret when you get into facts from over 100 years ago.

Private User
8/3/2011 at 10:53 AM

Michelle's comments cross posted. I should say that I only have family in my family group, and I do believe that is crucial to successfully sharing more private and current family news and events.

Private User
8/3/2011 at 11:11 AM

Michelle Elena Kempner - The person already is Not In my Family Group -never was in it - but he (and everyone in His Family Group) can see the info on all Profiles he co-manages.

Private User
8/3/2011 at 11:15 AM

Re: “How is sharing family information in a private family group incompatible with building a shared world family tree of deceased persons?”
- Geni currently says you can make private back to the 2nd great-grandparent of anyone with a claimed profile on your tree/in your Family Group. I think likely building a “shared world family tree” of folks further back than that is not incompatible with sharing information in a private family group. However (in addition to the problems mentioned above from merges)…

My aunt has memories of her grandparents which, if I can treat this as I should be able to per Goal I of sharing, getting to know family, etc. I would put in their “About Me”. This is information for the family. Ditto various information and opinions she has on other relatives, that I have on various relatives, etc. – and the fact that most of the folks I am currently thinking of are now dead does not mean I want this info down for Public Consumption – but it would be great to share within my Family Group. And I would love to get my 2nd cousins to put down their memories of our mutual ancestors (and aunts and uncles, etc) whom I never met. If Goal I is still valid and important, then we should be able to count on just Family getting to see it.

8/3/2011 at 11:40 AM

Private User If they are not in your family group, they will only see the info on the profile that was merged and any public profiles attached to it. All of the private profiles remain private. They will appear on the tree as a node with just first initial and last name displayed and no additional information.

8/3/2011 at 11:59 AM

Private User
- Would it help if you could kick a manager off a profile if they are manager because of a merge and they are not in your family group?
- Are you saying you would be more willing to have more profiles public, if you could mark parts of them private like the About section?

8/3/2011 at 11:59 AM

Private User
- Would it help if you could kick a manager off a profile if they are manager because of a merge and they are not in your family group?
- Are you saying you would be more willing to have more profiles public, if you could mark parts of them private like the About section?

Private User
8/3/2011 at 12:18 PM

Lois I don't see any incompatibility between your goals and the world tree. Michelle's idea of "for my family only" notes is interesting, but personally I've had no issues with co managers within the FG. I also relinquish my own management of profiles if I am not directly involved (some re-marriages come to mind). That way relatives can build their own groupings that intersect with mine, but don't get into ... "oh no, this is pretty much a stranger" co-managers.

It is so important to capture the memories. I'm a big StoryCorps fan.

Private User
8/3/2011 at 2:08 PM

Re: - "Would it help if you could kick a manager off a profile if they are manager because of a merge and they are not in your family group? "
- I think more correctly it should be 'if they are not a direct descendent or in the Max Extended Family of the Profile' - and you are. And yes, I would like this. Probably would prefer it to automatically happen, rather than you having to be the meany. They may be wonderful folks, they are not family, you perhaps do not want to look like an obnoxious person. But I am sure others would not want to risk being kicked off -- doing lots of work, adding lots of info, and then suddenly boom, lose total control and access to the profile, now can only see First Initial, Last Name.
And note - to say they are "manager because of a merge" is not exactly accurate - you and they are both managers of the same profile because of a merge, but they added their version themselves - might even be primary manager of the merged one (in separate thread I spell out a couple of ways of controlling who gets to be Primary, but it is often determined without anyone consciously choosing it.).
Think the likelihood of this happening would definitely cut down on the number of merges being pressed for.

I see I mis-spoke above - it is to 3rd Great-Grandparent that Geni allows you to set as Private. Can we count on this not changing?

Would I "be more willing to have more profiles public, if you could mark parts of them private like the About section?" - still mulling this one over. Basically, I like the idea (for several reasons) of keeping at least one or two generations of deceased private, so probably wouldn't, but still mulling.

Private User
8/3/2011 at 2:19 PM

Lois

Since my family is less concerned with the privacy of our deceased, would you mind explaining some of the reasons you and others want it to extend out as you described? Most f what we know as facts are in the public record anyway.

Private User
8/3/2011 at 2:22 PM

Does "not a direct descendant" mean that nobody should be allowed to add in-law family?

Private User
8/3/2011 at 2:22 PM

Does "not a direct descendant" mean that nobody should be allowed to add in-law family?

Showing 1-30 of 155 posts

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