Empty and Abandoned Projects

Started by Randy Stebbing on Saturday, September 17, 2011


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Showing 1-30 of 57 posts
9/17/2011 at 7:05 PM

Private User and Private User

I'd be interested in users responses to the question about what to do with totally abandoned projects. I'd urge the customer service department of geni to just delete them. There are 6,503 projects which is far to many to be effective in my opinion.

Here is a list (current as of Sep 17, 2011) of 182 totally abandoned projects. They have no collaborators, no profiles and an empty project description.

So are there others like me that want to see these cleaned up?

182 Totally Abandoned Projects:

Adelige familieforbindelser Skandinavien, Skotland, England og Europa.
Agila Family
Akuserija siandien
Akuserijos aktualijos Lietuvoje
Aleida-Johanna Anier
Aleksandras Kandrotas
alexey Zimarev
alternate Schmidt/Marto
anna spychalska
balwinder kaur
Bernardo-Ponce Family Tree
Beschle Family
Bolor Family
Bragg Family
Bruce Baumwoll Family
Budenz Family
Burgemeesters van Middelburg
Carbajal Family
Carpenter Family decedndants from Joseph Carpenter
casino famtree
chapman, norman
chat to other person
chat to other persons
chinna AND siri
chinna siri
Chiurco Family
Christian Mörling
Complete your tree
Copeland Family
Cornejo Family
Csura Family
dangira bazeviciene
Daniel Kopperud Family
David S McRoberts
Delaware River Families
Derech Hayekim - Nahariya
Deveikis Family
Drews Family
Eenokite suguvõsa
english tree
Familia Beauclair
Familia Terra Algorta
Family Tree Merge
Finkelstein Family
Fix the Tree
follow family of joseph & edna hayden died in mva - find Nicholas Burton Greg Hayden & margaret Hayden
Hall Family Project
Herme Family
hills murray
Hűvös Herskovits Family
Jerri's Project
Jespersen og Bartholomæussen
Jessica Beniely
Johan Reventlow
Joshua Bryan
Kaevandes Family
Kalloo Family
Karjel Family
Khgjfd Dum
Latonya franklin
Leo Schoenfeld's family
Lubbe Family History
Makam Family
Martin och Elna
Mary Tupper
Maxwell Family
Melendez Family
Min familie
Mõistus Family
Msgnr.Reynolds Purackal
MSP family
Muhli Family
My Roots
Nahariya Derech Hayekim
Niels Søe Pedersen
Nilakkal Valiyaveetil
Ørslien Family
Our Life
Pannas Jüri Family
Pauli Puu
Pelatihan Edukator Diabetes BRC 2012
Pepio Family
Pesek Family
Petr Čížek_Kreibich
Pettersson Family
Pinank's Family
pokusný projekt
Primerasd Damas de México
Pusser Family
Rauschenberger Family
Rick Fletcher
RK"s Family
Roehrig Family
Romerių giminė Lietuvoje
Salasilah Brunei
sedang mencari salasilah keluarga sebelah nenek Sapiah Mamat@Nik Sapiah kononnya dari kerabat Raaj Jembal Kelantan
Sheridan Family
Shorterage Family
stamboom van familie Scholten
Stapleton Family
Stark, Jr Family
Sultan Perak
Taubenhouse Family
Teatro Shorashim
The Bellesbachs
Tubridy Family
Unity White
uus projekt
Van GASSE Family
verka svalerka
Vieira de Freitas Family
Vision Honduras
Vivanti Family
Volens Family
Web building
Wirmala Family
Zezulka Family
Линдебаум Family
משפחת גראדמן
משפחת גראמן
تاج الرأس
شجرة منا السيد

9/17/2011 at 7:10 PM

In addition to the 182 totally abandoned projects I have a 2nd list of an additional 1,548 projects that have a single collaborator but no profiles or project description. I'll hold off on discussing these other forgotten projects until after we get some clarification on what is going to happen with the first group of 182.

Private User
9/17/2011 at 11:43 PM


You did well to find all these. I am surprised that there are projects with no collaborator. Presumably you need at least one collaborator to start a project.

I would delete the existing 182 - they clearly do serve no purpose with no collaborator, project description or profile. Presumably no discussion or document either. And they are easily recreated if someone wants them.

Besides deleting the 182, I would suggest some Geni functionality - a program they run say weekly or monthly - that automatically deletes projects with no collaborator, profile, description, document or discussion.

Private User
9/17/2011 at 11:46 PM

The 1548 - some of them may be recently created and not yet populated? I wouldn't want to delete those. Perhaps delete those that were created and untouched for more than say a few months? Again an automated routine to do this?

I think we can discuss these while pending a decision on the 182, but not reach a conclusion on the 1548 till the 182 are resolved.

9/18/2011 at 6:17 PM

Yes the 1,582 that have just a collaborator but no profiles, or project description will contain under the current system several projects started very recently. Though not ideal I'm fine with giving projects some time to get going and gain strength.

I'd encourage users to create projects that are focused around a clearly established research goal. The best projects seem to be ones where profiles are added immediately, and a project description is included that describes the purpose, research aim and scope of the project.

I've seen several example projects where a group of 2 or more people will send "inbox" messages to each other prior to a project start where potential collaborators agree before hand on what the project is for. I think this is great.

Finally if a user has created a project and later decides to not maintain it, and if others have not joined the project to help it grow, it would be extremely cool if the original creator deleted the abandoned project. We should clean up after ourselves!

Here's something to think about based on some actual research into all 6,503 current projects. 26% of all projects are totally abandoned and 42% of all current projects are likely abandoned:(

We should all try to do better.

9/18/2011 at 6:23 PM

I should also state that I would not want a system where projects need to be approved by a committee before being allowed to go forward. I certainly don't see that as a roll for the volunteer curators. I also like the idea of projects being open to all users basic, plus and pro.

What do others think about this and some of the other points raised?

Private User
9/18/2011 at 6:49 PM


I agree all your points. "should" is a very good word. What people should do is not always what they do in practice. That's true of real world. Why should Geni be different? Online forums also sometimes bring out the worst in people, because of cloaks of anonymity that make them more daring / less socially minded.

I suspect that an analysis of public discussions would also find a high percentage that should never have been started in the first place :)

The point is that people will do what they do. I agree leaving the openness of projects, and documenting and encouraging best practice. The result will still be the same - a high number of abandoned projects that "should" never have been started and "should" have been deleted by the original creator instead of just leaving them abandoned.

9/18/2011 at 7:22 PM

I don't see any of my projects in your list above, I do have some (for ex MOH) that do not have anyone in them yet because I have yet to get that far on the list.

Also some of the rolls projects are simply a list of names in a document that is attached.

I'm simply saying that you need to check the projects before deleting to make sure that they don't have a purpose that just can't be seen unless you actualy look at them first.

I would say if anyone is in the project, start a discussion within the project to ask if anyone is useing it before deleting.

It may be like one of those books that says "This page left blank" unless you look, you will never know why.

9/18/2011 at 7:25 PM

One of the other discussions suggested a "project report" for useless projects like the abandoned tree report.

Private User
9/18/2011 at 7:31 PM

Thanks Marv. To be clear, I was advocating that the 182 be deleted only if as well as having no collaborator, project description or profile, they also had no discussion or document.

9/18/2011 at 7:45 PM

Randy, how did you pull these, one by one, or did you use some bot?

9/18/2011 at 9:40 PM

I used the geni API to query each project name, number of collaborators, project description and number of profiles included. Because there are so many projects (6,500+) it takes quite a long time to run.

And because of how long it takes to run (2 hours) I did not run queries to see if each project included documents or discussion topics. Also last time I looked there were some information that I just couldn't get at using the current API. For example I don't think I can retrieve the project creation date to figure out how old the project is.

I'm hoping that costumer service will, after some additional discussion on this topic, decide on a best policy and if that policy is to remove abandoned projects that they will take care of it.

And finally I hope that there is an open and full discussion about improving project management before any decision is made about what to do so that geni users know what to expect.

9/18/2011 at 10:22 PM

I need some of these programs people are using with the API. Or an API manual or something.

Private User
9/19/2011 at 12:06 AM
<private> Preller
9/19/2011 at 12:27 AM

+ 1 on that Marv... but maybe better if I'm not let me loose with the API.. ;-)

9/19/2011 at 12:27 AM

I have a lot of cousins that abandoned their profiles. What I can expect? Geni will be put this profiles in public mode anytime?

Private User
9/19/2011 at 1:15 AM

+2 Marv. I'm with Marv and Mauritz.

Thanks Bjørn. But I need help just to understand the help.

Private User
9/19/2011 at 1:42 AM

David, - the help is enough if you are a programmer ;-)

Private User
9/19/2011 at 2:26 AM

Bjørn I WAS a programmer. I have a university degree in computing. You and I are of similar vintage. You are a little older than me, so you know the kind of languages I would have programmed in my younger days, and you know how much has changed since. This kind of thing didn't exist back then. Right?

Private User
9/19/2011 at 2:33 AM

OK, what do you need to get started?
There are examples in the API help section.

Private User
9/19/2011 at 2:50 AM

Bjørn - Thank you very much for the offer of help.

I'll let Marv and Mauritz take up the offer of help now.

For me, it's not an immediate priority. I'll come back to you one-to-one if/when I need help in future. Thank you again!

9/19/2011 at 10:59 AM

What I hope comes out of the specific question of "abandoned projects" is a policy decision by geni, for CS to have their own tools to identify "totally abandoned project" and for CS to remove them. So my "proposed improvement to projects" would be:

If a project has zero collaborators, zero documents, zero profiles, zero project description, zero discussion topics and was created or updated > 7 days ago then it would be deleted by CS using an automated scripted process. I would still consider a project abandoned even if has one or more followers if it meets the criteria above. Giving a week for a project to be fixed I think is a good thing to do.

Whether or not geni adopts the above is totally up to them but I'd be happy if they moved towards something like the above:)

9/19/2011 at 11:17 AM

The above post was discussing what I call "totally abandoned projects". I'd now like to shift the discussion to what I call "probably abandoned projects." As mentioned above there are 1,548 projects that have a single collaborator but no profiles or project description. I haven't specially checked yet but they likely also don't have any project discussions or attached documents.

So my proposed improvements to handle "probably abandoned projects" would be:

If a project has ONE collaborators (the person that started the project),, but zero documents, zero profiles, an empty project description, zero discussion topics and was either created or updated more than 7 days ago then the project creator would receive an email from geni with encouragement to add a description and profiles. Maybe the email would even contain a link to a webinar or video that expains how to make good projects on geni.

If after 14 days if the project is still empty with no project description, and no attached profiles then I'd want geni customer service to consider the project "totally abandoned" then delete it.

Again whether or not geni adopts the above is totally up to them but I'd be happy if they moved towards something like the above as it would help eliminate an additional 1,500+ projects that don't look like they ever got off the ground or were started accidentally.

I welcome others thoughts on both the definitions of "abandoned projects" as well as "probably abandoned projects" and what to do with them.

9/19/2011 at 1:13 PM

Private User

Thanks, at least I have a fighting chance if I get a chance to read it.

Private User
9/19/2011 at 2:25 PM


I fully support your objective: a policy decision by Geni, for CS to have their own tools to identify abandoned projects and for CS to remove them.

I also support both definitions, and what to do with these abandoned projects, except that I would elongate the timeframes. It has taken quite a while to build up the numbers you have found, and there is no "urgency" to remove them, provided there is a regularly executed method. People can create a project and then go on vacation for a few weeks ...

I would suggest say 28 days rather than 7 days for "totally abandoned projects", and also 28 days for each of the two steps (currently 7 days and 14 days) for "probably abandoned projects".

Also we should consider how often we would like CS to deploy its removal tool. I would suggest it needs to be no more frequently than weekly, and at least monthly.

Good work Randy!

9/19/2011 at 2:43 PM

If they adopt any of these suggestions I'm also be fine with a longer than 7 day period that needs to elapse before an "empty" project is flagged as "abandoned" or "probably abandoned". If 4 weeks is a better cut off date then I'd be ok with that also.

I'm also not that concerned about the total # of projects that exist at once on geni as long as the overall "quality" of the typical project improves.

Private User
9/19/2011 at 2:56 PM

Randy - how do we bring this to appropriate Geni attention for consideration? Does this public discussion achieve that? Do we create a feature request? Do you use curator communications with Geni?

9/19/2011 at 3:16 PM

There a good chance that geni staff will see the discussion here in the public discussion space and that is why I tagged Private User and Private User on the initial posting. But there is a lot to be said about just letting this public discussion be open for others to comment on for several days so that others can give feedback also. If geni employees were to comment to soon it might have the tendency of closing off further discussion so I'm fine with no response from geni about this for a couple of weeks. If there seems to be enough interest by others commenting then sure that could be worked up into a formal feature request based on the feedback from both basic, plus, curator, and pro users.

9/21/2011 at 7:28 AM

I'm still hoping to get additional comments from users.

9/21/2011 at 8:38 AM

Randy Stebbing Fantastic job!

Many of these projects are started siimply to explore how the Project concept works.

However, some of the projects, ie. the ones with "family names" might be searching for additional family member responses.

I have joined some initially blank projects with titles that intrigued me and added information to them, or tidied them up, and the project creator then became excited, motivated and more involved.

Therefore, perhaps instead of deleting the projects, could they be sequestered as "currently inactive" for six months or so to give me time to check some of them out?

eg. The projects with names of Jewish Families I add to the "Jewish Ancestry Guide Project," which is alphabetized and thus may be helpful to some extended family member's search.

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