. . . a single, collaborative world family tree . . .

Started by Peter De Bie on Friday, August 12, 2011

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Showing 31-60 of 513 posts
8/16/2011 at 4:00 AM

Good Benjamin!! But these greedy people won´t listen!!!!
Of course it is "theft of service" but americans maybe don´t know what that means? We from europe do know!

Private User
8/16/2011 at 4:55 AM

Steve, I'm not sure I understand your statement. Are you saying that when folks in Europe get a service for free, it is expected that the service will remain free forever?

I got a free razor and one blade from Gillette a while back. I never expected them to continue to provide free razors or blades to me in the future, nor did I consider it "theft of service" when they did not do so. But I was nevertheless thankful for the free gift while it lasted.

It would be quite egregious if Geni was reducing the features that are included with a paid account. But reducing the features that are included with a free account hardly seems like "theft" to me. Disappointing yes, but not an altogether evil deed.

Dave K.

Private User
8/16/2011 at 5:23 AM

Benjamin, I completely understand your points, and wish that Geni had provided a bit more of a heads-up that this type of thing could be coming down the pike right when new users sign up for a free account. But I also understand many of Geni's reasons for doing what they did.

From my perspective, I have seen first hand that the vast majority of damage and destruction that has been done within Geni was done by people with free accounts who were not interested in collaborating on building and sharing an accurate, complete Big Tree. Without any "skin in the game". The fact that you and Steve (the other poster in this thread) are so vocally passionate in your comments here tells me that you almost certainly do NOT fall into the typical free account mentality and that you really do care about the work being done.

But please try to look at it from the perspective of us paid users for just a moment. I have paid a total of $300 to Geni so far just for the priviledge of advancing the Big Tree project. But up until now, I have spent well over 80% of my Geni time fixing things that were screwed up by huge numbers of free account users who apparently saw little value in trying to ensure that they were entering correct data, or in marking their profiles as public so others can build on their work. Quite frankly, when I paid my money I didn't think I was signing up for a job firefighting an endless supply or arsonists- but it seems that is indeed what it turned out to be. Geni had to do something to start protecting its paying users, or risk losing them (and the company) altogether.

I'm sure Geni did not enjoy having to break the news to free users that they will be losing some capabilities. But we would all be much worse off if Geni did not exist at all.

8/16/2011 at 6:37 AM

So we understand david that you and the payers have asked for this..Or? Well, alot of what you paid for we have not used, we have used the possibility to build the tree together with many other people both payers and these who have been promised a free site for building a family tree. Now we can´t even continue change the data you aswell as we want to be correct. i have hundreds of ancestors and relatives in the historical part of this big tree which I am the only manager for and nobody can now add or do anything to make this tree more correct etc. If .it fails something (which one never know, new facts is all the time found)Then there are about 15 other people I have invited which and asked them to tell me about their bransches of the tree, they can not use the tree anylonger. i believe there are many like me and my family cooperators and I know that there are also alot of paying members who regret this step geni has taken. let us at least managing our own managed ancestors geni! i have written now with several of the paying users that also totaly disagree with what happens and some of them have left geni at least untill things changes to the better. And David Kaleita it is not the same selling things in a shop and you go there next day or so and ask for more. But geni didn´t even told us before so we could have the opportunity to save what we have pu into geni and move another place...
Instead of sending us all these merging things they did, they could have cut that out and let us kept what also belonged to us, our work!!! But that is not the american way...

8/16/2011 at 7:26 AM

Well, if we could all turn down the hyperbole for a moment...

I am completely in favor of Geni looking for ways to increase their revenue. They have a good staff that deserves to be paid for their work, and that means they need money coming in. And building a profit-based business model does not make them evil or guilty of thievery.

Having said that, here are what I see as the most shortsighted aspects of the new policy:

Clearly Geni wants to use the "Big Tree" as the proverbial carrot to dangle in front of the free users to entice them into going Pro. In principle, this makes sense. However, this plan will only work if one allows the free users to enter enough of their own data so that they can discover potential matches in the Big Tree. And frankly, cutting them off at the 4th great-grandparents is WAY too early to expect such matches to be found. Most free users will create their own little island of private family data and will never find cause to do anything more with it, because this plan does not create any such incentive. What Geni needs is a well thought-out roadmap for new users to build their trees to a point where a Pro subscription makes perfect sense... and I'm just not seeing that here.

Furthermore, if the ultimate goal is to create one huge world tree and to use that database as incentive for potential Pro users, it's entirely counterproductive to restrict any users from entering data, whether such users are paid or not. Free users who want to manually enter lines of distant cousins or ancestors beyond the 4th g-g-parent are contributing valuable information to the database that paid Pro users can use to their advantage. Preventing data entry as part of a plan to create a better Big Tree is rather like the USA cutting taxes to increase government revenue -- it may sound nice in theory, but it never works in practice.

Finally, speaking as a curator, I'm troubled by the fact that free users can no longer accept merge requests. I completely understand why you would prevent free users from initiating new requests -- that makes sense as a Pro feature. But we often rely on free users accepting merge requests on private profiles to clean up parts of the tree, especially in the areas of celebrity trees and historical profiles.

Again, I fully support Geni's efforts to try and make the Pro subscription more appealing. However, I think the staff needs to go back to the drawing board and rethink the collaborative aspects of the site that made Geni unique among all other family tree sites on the Web. Some of that seems to have been lost in the transition.

Cheers,
Geoff

8/16/2011 at 8:47 AM

OK, these are all nice and long statements and arguments, but...the main point that i read out was - Free users are screw-ups and do not value what they enter into the tree and PRO users are smart and honorable, because they pay. If that´s so, then Geni is screwed up by the wish to make money. First of all this is disrespectful and offending to free users with lots of knowledge about different family names, where the names were given and other things. All the knowledge will be lost if the user cannot pay.

I know a wise old man who is very enthusiastic in researching his ancestors, but unfortunately he is over 70 years old and in Estonia the banks do not give a credit card to a person who is over 70 years old (who knows - maybe if we give him a credit card, he spends a fortune and then dies?) See what i mean? The RIGHT TO MANAGE the profiles, that a user managed before the big change, MUST CONTINUE. As Steve said...if a person is the single manager (as free user) of profiles in historical part of the tree then noone can confirm the merge if the profiles are private (except curators maybe). What use does Geni have of lots of users who cannot do anything?

We can all write down our 3rd great grandparents and fourth cousins on a paper, we do not need Geni for that! The big tree grows many many times faster when all can add data and confirm existing merges. The right to start new merges can be right of PRO`s, but if someone as PRO sends merge request to a free user, then free user is not able to complete the merge. Where is the common sense in this?

Private User
8/16/2011 at 8:57 AM

Private User
Jaak Tulp
Hoy a las 12:47 PM I agree with you
When I trayed to comunicate what I think about this Theme look what do Geni " (¿?)"

Private User
8/16/2011 at 8:57 AM

Private User
Jaak Tulp
Hoy a las 12:47 PM I agree with you
When I trayed to comunicate what I think about this Theme look what do Geni " (¿?)"

Private User
8/16/2011 at 8:59 AM

Private User

Enrique (Henri (V)) Raul Angenscheidt Baridon, Cr. ( J.)
15/8/2011 a las 6:33 PM
Denunciar | Borrar
[This message has been hidden until it can be reviewed by an administrator.]

Private User
8/16/2011 at 9:00 AM

Jaak, a pro send no mergerequest, a pro can do all merges himself without collaboration of anyone

Private User
8/16/2011 at 9:04 AM

Jaak, secondly:
QUOTE
The RIGHT TO MANAGE the profiles, that a user managed before the big change, MUST CONTINUE.
unquote
That right is still there, every non pro still can edit all the profiles of which he is a manager, also in the historic tree !

Private User
8/16/2011 at 9:07 AM

Jaak, thirdly
I'm also a 70 years old man. I got no creditcard. But I can pay to paypal and you can be a pro user with a paypal payment to Geni !

Private User
8/16/2011 at 10:31 AM

Private User
Jaak Tulp, HAS PROVEN THEMSELVES WITH YOUR EYES, WHAT HAPPENS Cuenda say what I say SOME DUTCH HISTORICAL CHARACTERS, I do have RELATIVES ON decorated by the Queen of the Netherlands in the Second World War, when was among the escorting THE QUEEN TO THE PLANE.
HOLLAND and stayed in fighting the Nazis, what WOULD KNOW THAT MADE SOME .........?

8/16/2011 at 10:35 AM

OK, Fred! How come that i need family groups with someone to confirm merges? Yes, i can request merges to private profiles, but I still cannot directly merge lots and lots of profiles. Are these all private or what? What i ment with right to manage is editing the profiles and adding details, that is further 3rd great grandparents.

Well...what else i wanted to say...all PRO´s are not genealogists and can make mistakes too. The fact that one pays does not mean that he/she is professional and responsible. As i understand...collaboration is now irrelevant and family group is needed only for PRO users to confirm merges of private profiles?

What use does free user have of family group? Only right to see the information that is hidden? A PRO must help free users (who are or want to be in family group) to merge the duplicate profiles that are mostly (by default) private. That means the PRO must have family groups with all the users that share the 2 3 4 or more times duplicated private branches. I think the PRO user does not want anything to do with it unless he/she is very commited and helpful.

In Estonia banks do not know such payment method as Paypal. What exists in USA and Canada does not necessarily exist everywhere in the world.

Private User
8/16/2011 at 12:43 PM

[QUOTE]
In Estonia banks do not know such payment method as Paypal. What exists in USA and Canada does not necessarily exist everywhere in the world.
[/QUOTE]
It is not important that a bank or a country doesn't know Paypal, Anyone who can do payments to other countries can pay to the bankaccount of Paypal en then he/she can pay everyone in the world, also Geni, from the bankaccount of Paypal.

Private User
8/16/2011 at 12:56 PM

[QUOTE] How come that i need family groups with someone to confirm merges? Yes, i can request merges to private profiles, but I still cannot directly merge lots and lots of profiles. Are these all private or what? [/QUOTE]
The opinion of Geni is that new non pro users are primary interested in their own familygroup and direct ancestors and that these first have to learn editing in Geni and to collaborate with experienced users as Pro users are supposed to be. Geni thinks that the fourth ggf and 3rd cousins are reasonable and sufficient for this purpose. Because these group is the own group of the user all profiles can be private and doesn't need merges. If they invite familymembers in the familygroup then they can collaborate with each other within the familygroup.
This has nothing to do with the Big Tree. Geni thinks that, when the familygroup is complete, there grows the desire to expand to the big tree and if so then the non pro user wil become a paying, pro user.
Merging must point to the Big Tree and the Big Tree is for pro users.

Private User
8/16/2011 at 1:04 PM

[QUOTE] Well...what else i wanted to say...all PRO´s are not genealogists and can make mistakes too. The fact that one pays does not mean that he/she is professional and responsible. As i understand...collaboration is now irrelevant and family group is needed only for PRO users to confirm merges of private profiles? [/QUOTE]
This is an other problem that is under construction.
There are users, pro and non pro, who are wellknown by curators as uncarefull mergers, editers and/or duplicators. These users shouldn't have the mergerights and the possibilities to add nodes in the Big Tree.
There are also users, pro and non pro, who are wellknown to curator as carefull and excellent researchers, mergers and editers.
This moment there is not taken any decision to profit of this knowledge, but it is not impossible, that this will count in the future in some way.

8/16/2011 at 1:32 PM

Thank you, Fred! Made a bit clearer picture for me, but the methods should have been cleared and explained first. Now it´s big panic. All i ask is that a free user has right to confirm merges that are sent to him/her. That should be reasonable or not?

Private User
8/16/2011 at 1:40 PM

In my opinion that is reasonable within the familygroups and to the primary managed profiles , because it is in favor of both pro and non pro users and is not of any influence on the attractivity of the pro user status. this is allready proposed to Geni as you could read in one of the public discussions, but there is not yet a reaction seen by me.

8/16/2011 at 2:38 PM

here's a thought:
7 generations (4th great grandparents) end up in 64 people (providing there is no overlap). When there were 800 million people around that time (1750, according to Wikipedia), an average of 2.8 reproducing children per couple will lead to around the 6 billion population today. Your 64 ancestors will lead to 1527 offspring in total (again providing there is no overlap). So my proposal is: anybody who has added at least 1500 valid profiles to the/his tree gets automatically the same rights as a pro user.

8/16/2011 at 5:01 PM

Fred and Jaak we've seen the requests but cannot commit one way or the other right now.

8/16/2011 at 5:18 PM

I totally agree with Dea and Steve .. I started our tree and have built it
up with the help of many other cousins who are afraid to make changes.
I helped them with that and now that is impossible and our tree is
standing still .. I can't invite any more people if I can't reach out and help them... I have a whole new bunch waiting in Chicago ..

Geni >>Think again about your decision to push this PRO ...

8/16/2011 at 5:21 PM

@Peter De Bie: "Your 64 ancestors will lead to 1527 offspring in total (again providing there is no overlap). So my proposal is: anybody who has added at least 1500 valid profiles to the/his tree gets automatically the same rights as a pro user."

That's an interesting thought, Peter. While there can be some useful debate on just what is the right "level" for 'Pro-like' capabilities, and also about the "valid profiles" (e.g.: most of them them have at least one date [birth or death] and they are 'reasonably connected' and that the appropriate profiles are marked public ... or private) -- and, furthermore, it would be an interesting engineering challenge to come up with some kind of tool to "validate" my managed profiles so that one could "merit" Pro-like privileges.

However, then, what is the incentive to pay money? Perhaps what is need are "Pro tools" (not just "Pro privileges" ... or perhaps even completely separate from "Pro privileges") which make it easier for me, the paying customer of Geni, to manage and organize and re-organize the profiles for which I am responsible.

In other words, let me pay to make my life (on Geni) easier.

And, by counterpoint, give my clear criteria which I must meet (e.g.: Peter De Bie's 1500 'good' profiles) in order to demonstrate that I am trustworthy enough to muck around with other folks profiles in the "Big Tree".

That "trustworthiness" should not be linked to ability to pay (in my view).

The ability to pay should be for "services/tools" (convenience, flexibility) which allow me to exercise whatever 'privileges' my login possesses more rapidly and accurately.

I think such a separation of "abilities" (i.e.: privileges to help with the "Big Tree" outside of the profiles I manage) from additional services/tools/"facilities" (e.g.: GEDCOM import/sync -- services for which I have to pay) is essential to preserve and enhance collaboration.

8/16/2011 at 5:31 PM

I think one additional concept needs to be made clear to all users from the outset if they agree to use Geni -- and that is that profiles which are "old" (in some sense, e.g.: that they have no living immediate children or siblings, as an example) will automatically be made public profiles ... that is, become part of the "Big Tree".

In other words, if you put profiles onto Geni, you are agreeing that your ancestry information is a "public resource" ...

Private User
8/16/2011 at 5:54 PM

Private User
Dan Cornett

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Private User
8/16/2011 at 5:58 PM

Private User
THIS IS THE BIG TREE THEY WANTED, STOLE THE SACRIFY TGOUSANDS OF HOURS WORKING IN TOUR FAMILY TREE AND WHOOPS,SINCE 2008 AUGUST I MANAGED NEAR 7500 PROFILES, AND UISING THE DARL BLUE IBM I THINK IS EMPOSSIBLE TO HACE SUC ACCOUNT OF MANAGED PROFILS

Private User
8/16/2011 at 6:54 PM

@Dan H. Cornett

One of the biggest frustrations I have as a Curator is the "private tree" outside the Max Family Group (MFG = the limits now set for basic members). I can't make them public, I can't complete merges for you all, and I often can't reach the manager because it is a single-managed profile whose manager has abandoned his/her tree. I, for one, would be happy if Geni adopted your suggestion.

There are some identity theft issues to consider in where we set the standard of whose profile can remain private and whose should automatically be made public. Once those issues are resolved, this would be a boon to all users.

Keep thinking up great ideas, Dan!

8/16/2011 at 7:57 PM

@Maria E-Z: "There are some identity theft issues to consider in where we set the standard of whose profile can remain private and whose should automatically be made public. Once those issues are resolved, this would be a boon to all users."

Absolutely! Privacy and protection for living individuals are paramount; the example I gave was just to serve as a starting point for discussion.

{I don't know if there are any more "great ideas" here, but ... a little more "thinking out loud". By they way, data integrity has been an important professional concern of mine through much of my career.}

The implementation of any "automatic public if ..." must, in my mind, be accompanied with separation of the privilege to "edit any public profile" from enhanced services available by "paying money".

It is a matter of trust.

My thinking is that if I enter profiles which become public (and are, for the sake of argument, "new to the Big Tree"), then I want to retain editing rights to those profiles; however, I must also give up the idea that I retain SOLE "ownership" of those profiles. In order to do that, I must have some trust that other people who will also have the ability to edit/merge those public profiles (which I entered) will treat the profiles I provide with "integrity" and courtesy.

Paying for a membership (e.g.: current Pro) does NOT, to me, confer any degree of trust in how that person may treat the data I provide. That "trust issue" is why I think it is vital to separate "privilege to modify/merge other's public profiles" from "access to services and tools which I'd like to use" -- that latter being what I would pay for.

Now, I don't have too much problem with a "paying user" having a "lower threshold" to demonstrate that "integrity". If, for example, that "demonstration of integrity" was defined, as Peter initially proposed, as entering 1500 'good' profiles, I might be o.k. if a "paying user" only had to enter, say, 500 -- just as a possible example.

Now, I'm not so sure that just entering "N good profiles" ought to be the only criteria by which one can become "privileged" -- or even necessarily the primary criteria. Perhaps it could involve some number of merges (or merge requests) and tree conflict resolutions and data conflict resolutions which are deemed "good choices" by a curator or similar person.

Personally, I have not entered 500+ profiles yet (I'm waiting for AncestorSync to become operational in order to upload some of the info I already have without having to re-type it all), but I have been, I hope, demonstrating a degree of integrity and "respect for data" around merges as well as tree & data conflict resolution. I happen to have "inherited" (accepted responsibility for) a bunch of profiles which were managed by someone (that I did not know) who is no longer a Geni.com member at all -- so I have a bunch of profiles I "manage" that I did not enter, and most of which I have little direct knowledge about the accuracy of the data in those profiles. But I try to "manage" them as best I can with the information to which I have access.

8/16/2011 at 8:12 PM

Since it's been mentioned twice, yes we do keep off-site backups. :-)

8/16/2011 at 8:13 PM

Another thought about "paying for services".

If "access to enhanced services" is what I pay for, but the basic "collaboration capabilities" are free (however, Geni defines that), then I might be inclined to pay more for those services for a short period of time, but then give up those services (e.g.: GEDCOM import or sync) when I no longer find a use for them.

If all I want to do is enter my "ancestry" until I find a couple of "connecting points with the "Big Tree" (which is probably more accurately called a "Big Forest"), and then collaborate with suggestions and additional information to supplement & expand the "Big Forest", then that may be something I'd offer my time and energy to do -- especially if free.

However, if I have A LOT of information to add, or if I'd like some "service" (such as printing out a nice ancestry poster, or downloading a "document detailing all the descendants of great-aunt Bessie), then I would not be hurt or surprised to have to pay for such additional services.

However, if I previously had free access to such services, I *REALLY* would appreciate several days/weeks of advance notice about having to pay for such services in the future. That's the kind of "corporate behavior" which demonstrates they are striving to be worthy of my trust!

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