Geni's "Help" Platform

Started by Private User on Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Showing 1-30 of 58 posts
Private User
9/21/2011 at 2:34 PM

I responded to a complaint/question/comment over in "Help", about Missing Documents: -

I commented and provided a link to a Public Discussion about the same topic, creating link by copy-and-paste.

It has since received two comments that the link does not work, last one on Sept. 18. I checked - do not know why it shows such a large message number in the link, but copy-and-paste back into address line did/does work -- however, I cannot correct the link or suggest they copy-and-paste to address line, because it is now labelled "Answered" and "Closed to Comments" -- with my Comment (with the link that does not work) being labelled with the green "answered".

This is very frustrating!!

Private User
9/21/2011 at 4:10 PM

The tech difficulties is because the link somehow acquired two extra chars after

Remove those two extra chars and the link works fine

Private User
9/21/2011 at 4:12 PM

Maybe Lois because you wrote "Done" in your comment it got interpreted as an answer :)

9/22/2011 at 11:47 AM

Private User I fixed the link for you.

Private User
9/22/2011 at 7:49 PM

Natalie MacLees - Thanks much! Could you (pretty please) also add a comment (current date, so at top) to that topic/discussion saying the link is fixed? - that way the two folks who commented that it was broken will automatically get that message, and they and folks reading the discussion will know it works now.

Private User
9/25/2011 at 5:47 PM

I see now "Bug Reports" currently exists in two places, one of them in the "Getting Help" section and one of them in the "Translators" section.

Currently, the Bug Report: "Bug - Documents from PDF's currently broken" - appears in "Bug Reports" in "Getting Help".

It has been marked "Done", since at least Aug. 6, 2011, despite comments on it after the label went up, dated Aug. 6, Aug. 10, and today (Sept. 25, 2011) about problems still currently existing.

Does the Customer Service Staff / Geni-Team see a date for when "Done" is entered? If so, does anyone look to see if there are complaints showing the problem was not fixed - complaints which came in after that date? If not - wouldn't it be a good idea to provide such a date? Does anybody in Customer Service / the Geni-Team even look at the Bug Reports after they are marked "Done"?

If a problem/Bug Report is mistakenly marked "Done" (as in this case) - how does one get the "Done" removed?

Private User
9/25/2011 at 6:02 PM

Lois - previously (up to about two weeks ago) it was easier to find the Bug Reports in the Translators section than in the Getting Help section. There was also a bug (since fixed) in the Bug Report functionality under Getting Help such that bugs could not be reported there, and could only be reported in the Translators section.

As a result, several bug reports were placed in the Translators section that had nothing to do with Translators. At my instigation, these were moved by CS from the Translators section to the Getting Help section.

Private User
9/27/2011 at 5:43 PM

David thanks much for very kindly addressing the first paragraph in my Sept. 25th posting -- I knew at one point it seemed Bug Reports had been moved to the Translators section, and then many disappeared. Did not realize that was a bug -- glad it is now apparently fixed!

Natalie MacLees , Private User - Could one or both of you read the rest of my Sept. 25 posting, and address the questions I raised in the last two paragraphs there? [or refer me/this discussion to someone who can?]

Private User
11/14/2011 at 9:15 PM

I have seen several recent suggestions to folks to Submit a Feature Request. So I went and checked it out again.

I am pleased to see if I set it to sort by "Recent" and then click on a Feature Request, when I come out thru clicking the back arrow, it is still sorted by "Recent" [during the start of August, it always re-set to 'Most Popular']

--However, if I scroll to bottom of list and then push "More", then click on a Feature and look - when I click the back arrow, I am back to the list before 'More' was pushed, have to go all the way down, click More again and etc. - and Feature Requests require pressing 'More" many times to view all of them.

Specifically - It requires pressing 'More' eleven (11) times to finish showing all Feature Requests.

By making "Most Popular' the default, it makes it less likely new Suggestions will be seen.

It used to tell the number of Feature Requests. Now that is no longer visible. - Why? And - is there a way to avoid having to start over at first set, each time you click on a Request -- or am I correct that you always have to go down and re-press More (however many times you already did), to get to set you were looking at, if it was beyond first set?

Private User
11/14/2011 at 9:58 PM

It is suggested that the Login for the Help screen is somehow "extra security" -- I think it is the opposite!!

I work on a Public Computer. If I am logged in to Geni, and go to "Add a Comment" or whatever on the Help Platform, it automatically logs me in to Help. BUT if I log out of Help, it does not automatically log me out of Geni. AND if I go back to geni without logging out of Help, and log out of Geni, I am not logged out of Help. This is NOT added security.

If I start with Help not logged in to Geni, it sends me to the Geni Login, then immediately returns me to the Help Screen - so I am even less likely to realize, after logging out (on the Help Screen), that I have only logged out of Help, and not out of Geni - This is very much NOT added security.

Private User
11/15/2011 at 7:55 PM

Erica Howton - I am going to respond here to:

re: "Obviously you don't remember what was there before, or rather the lack of." -
Wrong, I do remember - before the Help Platform, there were the Forums - I liked the Forums.

I suspect you are not referring that far back - and yes, I have noticed the changes in the past several months - seems like each time I went to the Help Platform, they had rearranged things - to me, a definite source of frustration and confusion and causing me to be repeatedly (silently?) going "Where the blankety-blank is [whatever I was looking for] now? Where did they move it to?" Not fun, not a plus.

I have no idea if it is better or worse now for a Novice going to it for the first time. I definitely do not find it better. The screen is very busy, and problems that bothered me are still there, including:
a) Questions asked, marked Answered and Comments closed but the Question not answered or not correctly - and nothing one can do about it there.
b) A Bug reported and marked Done, but not done, and despite comments to that effect, nothing is done to remove the word "Done", nor does the Geni-Team give any indication they even notice the comments of the continued problem.
c) Trying to see all the Feature Requests is seriously difficult (beyond most folks' willingness to ever do) - see

I have no idea what it is about the current system that seems so much better to you. Clearly we look at things differently and experience the world differently. I do not mean this as an attack or a negative comment - folks differ. I have tried here to elaborate a bit on how I am seeing and experiencing the Help Platform. If you would like to elaborate, with specifics, on how you see it/what you see as so much better, I will attempt to understand.

11/15/2011 at 8:52 PM

Re posting for less typos. By the way I am really not all that interested in this conversation and would love to bow out of it. I do not like being a target, it is extremely uncomfortable, and somehow people are putting me in that position, which makes it hard for me to participate in public discussions at all. My interest is family research; it is not bug tracking or reporting; nor is it about defending a corporation. Having done CS (and bug reporting, and software testing, and deployments, etc etc) I have an intense desire to be paid market rates that kind of work. :)

However to describe my *personal user* experience over the last year and a half ....

1. In the beginning there were the forums. People used aliases and interacted with each other and Geni staff, most notably Noah Tutak.

2. There was also the Geni Community Wiki server, with lots of good tricks and FAQ from the community by the community.

3. I read but did not participate in both.

4. When I started curating was around the same time Geni enhanced their internal discussion tool. Eventually they decommissioned the forums altogether. The old forums were on an "outside" server, the current discussions on an "inside the Geni veil of privacy" server. This extra layer meant that I for one felt more comfortable posting.

5. Except for what curators and the Dutch team have added, the community Wiki is kind of dead. Luckily most of the pertinent information has already been carried over to the help platform.

6. The Help platform is not just for community. As I understand it, it is also the internal ticket tracking system for Geni CS. Their previous tool was outmoded. So seriously? Doesn't that team deserve a tool that assists them? Would you grudge them that?

7. Lois, I think you like interacting with Geni staff. You do know it's voluntary efforts by them and not what they are paid to do? Don't you think we should make those conversations interesting, enjoyable and collaborative - and not make it about ticket tracking or FAQ?

Private User
11/15/2011 at 9:30 PM

Erica - not sure I understand 6 & 7 above. I used to be able to Submit Tickets. I believe I always did it thru sending e-mail,even tho they added 'Submit Ticket' to Help Platform. Once they moved to using the Help Platform, response time for actually fixing the Bug became much longer, often non-existent - think, tho, not due to Help Platform but to more users, not enough staff, Basic having low priority, the Customer Service folks not being the Programmers, etc. As a Basic User, I am no longer able to submit any Tickets. I am not talking about Tickets here, am not talking about tracking Tickets here, etc. - unless you are using the terms differently, and I am not understanding?

At end of 7. - "or FAQ" - no idea what you are referring to that I was talking about.

The Geni Community Wiki Server was not something I was particularly familiar with - basically not at all, then and now. Wiki is still basically foreign territory to me.

And yes, I am most grateful to the Geni Staff for putting in time and effort and responding to comments in the Discussions. Think these Public Discussions are far better than the Help Platform - as a place to ask questions, get help, etc. I participated in the Forums, and think I prefer them - that format - to these Public Discussions, but am no longer totally sure of that.

Private User
11/15/2011 at 9:43 PM

I started this thread as an attempt to be constructive - as opposed to just wailing that the Help Platform sucked or similar derogatory remarks, to instead point out specific examples that might help the Geni-Team/Customer Service folks both correct specific problems and perhaps see how to fix the Help Platform so it would work better (or, less politely, but often how I felt - not be so totally stupid in some of the ways it works).

Anyone who is better able to express constructive suggestions for the Help Platform - please do so here!

11/15/2011 at 9:46 PM

Ok, bit here's the problem.

CS uses the help platform.

If you want to improve Help, you need to do it THERE.

11/15/2011 at 9:48 PM


Specific tickets are now a PRO feature. For what it's worth, that's not an unusual way for an online system to be set up.

11/16/2011 at 11:01 AM

We did rearrange the help system recently in an effort to make it more usable. It is difficult to respond to a complaint that things on help move and that the help system should be better. As we work on improving the help system, some items will move. Hopefully these changes make the system easier to use.

Our help desk software is provided by Zen Desk, which is a commonly used help platform on web sites. It helps our team keep track of submitted issues and respond to them. Some of the frustrations listed with the software are because of the Zen Desk platform. However, they continue and we continue to work to improve it. I will spend some time looking through the system to see if we can address some of the issues mentioned in this thread. The Help system should be an evolving tool that continues to grow and get better as the site grows.

Private User
11/16/2011 at 11:36 AM

Michelle -

I understand things move, and my individual frustration with that is not relevant or important except as demonstration in response to comment stating I had not noticed changes!

Thanks for being willing to check out some of the other complaints / comments made in this thread.

I am the sort who often is immediately struck by the one typo in the flyer, etc. Perhaps part of the same mindset causes me to notice and be annoyed by errors in Answers and etc. in the Help Platform. If I see a statement in Help Topic or a comment in Community Help marked "Answer" (in both cases, Comment Closed) that I think is wrong or missed the point of the question, is it better to mention it here or ?? - in other words, is there anything I can do to help Help Staff / help those wanting correct info?

11/16/2011 at 11:59 AM

A few examples of questions marked answered that are not answered would be helpful. I am looking through that section right now.

Private User
11/16/2011 at 6:00 PM

Michelle -
The one that had majorly caught my eye yesterday was: -

The poor person says she signed up for Pro, paid "a good chunk of money" and now it appears to have disappeared. The answer was to create a ticket.

It is possibly not obvious to everyone that "create a ticket in our help section" is done by clicking on the button saying "Submit Ticket". But, much more important here, -- if Geni, rightly or wrongly, thinks the person has a Basic Membership, they will not be able to create a ticket. So how is this a good answer?

Private User
12/4/2011 at 10:37 PM

Michelle Elena Kempner -
under Help Topics there is 1) "How do I cancel my free trial of Pro?" - and there is 2) "How do I cancel my Pro Subscription?" - however, this latter only discusses how to "cancel your trial subscription"!!

Since 2) has more details, the info in it should probably be substituted for the info in 1) "How do I cancel my free trial of Pro?"

Moreover, the info in 2) "How do I cancel my Pro Subscription?" should definitely include how to cancel a paid subscription (possibly with reference and link to 1), or repeating that info, for those wanting to cancel the Trial).

Clearly cancelling a paid subscription is allowed, since the Terms of Service - section V Billing and Payments, subsection 2. Subscriptions - says,
"... Prepaid fees for annual and multi-year subscriptions will be refunded based on the number of months remaining on the contract period, beginning with the month following receipt of written cancellation, but may be subject to adjustment according to current product pricing and subject to adjustment for any incentives or discounts provided for said prepayment. A Member choosing to cancel a prepaid subscription prior to the end of its prepaid term may also be subject to a $15 processing fee. No partial month refunds will be provided."

Can you fix "How do I cancel my Pro Subscription?" - or see that it is fixed - to include this info, along with where to send (or e-mail?) the "written cancellation"? If there is now an easier way, mention it as well.

Private User
12/4/2011 at 11:09 PM

We will take a look at the help topics this week and see what changes should be made to the two of those.

Private User
12/11/2011 at 5:38 PM

Michelle Elena Kempner - perhaps you could take to heart, or have someone consider -

quoting it entirely, it says,
"I've read many questions and answers. Many of the answers do not answer the question or only part of it. Also some answers need clarification as we are not all fluent in computer language. I am still waiting an answer (the answer did not reflect the question) For example. I explained: I am a paid Geni pro. I messed up my log in. I tried to change my email and I probably tried to change my password. I also somehow set up new Geni basic. to which I have added nothing. One answer I got was "how to change your pw." (No help there) The 2nd answer I got was" how to get a ticket." (no help there, I can't log in) Helpers must read the whole question. We wait way too long for an incomplete answer. The second example was for some one to "empty their cache". What does that mean? What is a cache?"

-- it is entered in "Bug Reports" , which doesn't seem the best place for the comment - but is it? is there a better place over in the Help Platform? Or - Is it the sort of comment that is better made in the Public Discussions? It is definitely somebody very unhappy with attempts to use the Help Platform. Hoping you can get her some actual help.

Private User
12/11/2011 at 7:01 PM

Michelle - am finally getting some more examples of questions marked answered that were not answered.
has comment/elaboration – “I keep getting mail that someone has left a message in my guest book. Where or what is a guest book? How do I find it?”

The same person then added a comment, same day (bottom of comments, since most recent is at top), “I've discovered a thing on my profile page called 'guest book', but it is always blank, despite the messages. Where else should I be looking?”

So Monica Cruz, Admin. After these says, “The guestbook is a feature on your profile page that allows you leave a comment on a users wall or post a comment yourself. “ - and this checked and labelled “Answer”, question is marked “Answered”.

This does not answer the question, and totally disregards the follow-up comment, which demonstrates that the info she gives was already known and makes it extremely clear that giving that info fails to answer the question.

Private User
12/11/2011 at 7:08 PM

continuing - - has comment / elaboration – “I have tried several times to add a ancestor on my tree and it says I do not have permission. What kind of permission I do not know what they are talking about?”

Monica Cruz Admin has now two supposed “Answers” down for that one, and still fails to address the question. ---- The first time, she answered the question entered by someone else as a comment to this entry. I called her on that, and she then gave an "answer" that explains how to add folks - but that in no way addresses why he is told he does not have permission!!

Private User
12/11/2011 at 7:10 PM

still continuing with examples - - this was entered Sept. 14. It and its elaboration and comments are about Birthday messages. UNTIL Monica Cruz Admin. announces on Dec. 05, 2011 “Virtual gifts is a paid feature. You would have to upgrade to a Pro or plus membership to use this feature. We welcome you to try a free trial and check out the benefits or upgrading your account” - which is marked as “Answer”, despite the fact it does not address the question. I attempted to clarify/answer when I first noticed that – but mentioning here because I am getting annoyed at the non-answers I am seeing marked as answers.

Private User
12/11/2011 at 7:11 PM

I am also wondering - In Community Help, should Admin. requesting more info really be considered an answer?? And if so, could you explain why? See below for one example:

Private User
12/11/2011 at 7:15 PM

The “Answer” to this one is not in error – but it was posted Dec 07 2011 – does not say it is a copy from anywhere, but is clearly a copy-and-paste, since it is complete with the statement “Updated: September 20, 2011” – - at the very least, sort of tacky.

12/12/2011 at 11:35 AM

Private User, thanks for pointing out these examples. Our customer service group is looking into these right now.

Private User
2/9/2012 at 10:56 PM

Michelle Elena Kempner - can you help, or get help for the person who posted here on Feb. 9, 2012 -
- giving some details of paying for life-time membership, money taken, membership not received.

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