Started by Private User on Tuesday, September 27, 2011


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Private User
9/27/2011 at 10:21 AM

To Geni's top managers:


Every day research on Geni is becoming more difficult, a drag and no fun.
Let me know how can I retrieve the over 2000 people I entered to your cursed site, so I could abandon it and go where I will be wanted.
I have many choice words to use for you, but I'll keep my decorum and use those words
on a personal level if we ever meet.

Those of you Geni users who have similar feelings, let the management know it by partaking in this discussion. If you keep silent it is as if you support the road in which we are heading.

9/27/2011 at 1:53 PM

Daniel, It pains me to see you in this situation. Isn't the downloading of your excellent research onto a Gedcom available?

Regarding top management, I would imagine it is probably outside investor's financial support that Geni exists on. It is doubtful that enough membership money comes in to run and maintain Geni's increasing complex global and elaborate technical structure, and so it must be the investors that are clamping down in this difficult economic climate.

Geni certainly has tremendous potential and is breaking new ground all the time---no other genealogical site has the creativity, interactivity and far reaching goals we have.

Your excellent work certainly has contributed to Geni's success so your frustration is very valid, but I do not think the managers control the operation. I would think they are in the same uncomfortable situation we all are in during this awkward growing pains period.

If there is a way you think I may be able to help, please do not hesitate to email me.

Private User
9/27/2011 at 3:18 PM

Dear Malka, I know you for a while already, and you have been very helpful to me in the past, so I thank you for trying to smooth things over.
I have enough people able and willing to help, but it is not easy, nor convenient, nor fun.
Geni has done a lot of good things, so it is very upsetting that most of the last changes and "improvements" are only to enhance the PRO experience, to the detriment of the rest of the users.
It seems that Geni wants to have only chiefs, no indians.
Geni's managers can and should get on this discussion and answer me and all the other users as to the reasons of their actions, their goals, and in which ways they intend to take us there.
I know there are people that added more to Geni than I did, but many of them are not PRO either. My statistics show that I added 2183 profiles, about 2000 of them obtained from databases that took me countles hours
of monotonous search, plus many hours to enter them.
I am responsible for many mergers that will hopefullly bring us closer to the BIG TREE, an idea that I believe in.
I am not against Geni being a site that charges users, but I am against them changing the rules of the game in midsteam, and outraged that they make it impossible for non PROs to continue with their fruitful contribution.
What you wrote to apease me is understandable, but it should come from the people against whom these tirades are directed.
I didn't yet try to export a Gedcom of my family tree, but if I remember correctly, since I am not a PRO, it is limited to very few generations (4?) of blood relatives.
In reference to your last question, you already helped by difusing some of the anger that is boiling inside me.
Thank you.

Private User
9/27/2011 at 5:05 PM

Daniel - the only positive change they made for those of us using Geni for free was to make Forest Export available. I do not know if that is a permanent change or not, but hopefully you can still take advantage of it.

9/27/2011 at 6:11 PM

Private User Thank you so much for your kind words. Hopefully a just and satisfactory settlement for all will be worked out by Geni's creative management.

You might be interested to hear that by playing around with the Geni matching algorithm, which currently indicates no direct match between us, I was able to construct two completely different paths vis-a-vis which we can be connected as family.

1. The Frankel Teomim line
2. The Halberstam family

If I had more time, I probably could find many more connections. A huge advantage of being a Pro member is that you can play around and find indirect connections that are not picked up by the regular matching algorithm. Meanwhile I will email you the connections.

Warmest wishes,
Shana Tova.

9/27/2011 at 6:16 PM

I tend to agree with Daniel and understand where he is coming from.
From a practical point of view, however, this is a great website and I think that we should support it financially so that it continues to exist and to innovate.

Private User
9/28/2011 at 1:47 AM

@Lois Lubin
Thank you for the tip. I just used it.
I became so cynical vis-a-vis Geni as of late that I attribute the fact that we the "underclass" can export the Forest now to a glitch in their elaborate scheme to screw us.
But now that I have the Forest, how do I use it?
This would be my first time to "peer" into a Gedcom, and as an "alter kucker" (old fart) I am clueless.

Private User
9/28/2011 at 2:12 AM

@Nathan Rosenshein
As I mentioned earlier, I am not against users paying for the service, but I am definitely against the ugly way in which they try to shove it down our throats.
These days there is almost no action that I undertake on Geni, including trying to answer a simple birthday reminder, that I am not sent to a spam page about becoming a PRO, and when I decline, they send me back to square one, back and forth.
Geni management should have been more upfront with us, explain theit difficulties, get into a dialog with us about how to solve those problems, so we could go forward as a family, not as two enemies, management vs. users.
There are enough very smart people on this site that could have come up with creative ideas to solve the problems without allienating the masses.
I would like to see more people participate in this discussion as a measure of repudiation of Geni's ways and attitudes, and as a platform for the users to tell management what is deficient and how to fix it.
Spread the word among your Geni family, collaborators and friends about this discussion, and ask them to add whatever is on their minds and hearts.

Private User
9/28/2011 at 3:32 AM

If Geni's objective really were to create an accurate family tree, it would let non-pro users approve match requests and perform merges within the close family. The current restrictions hinder both types of users.

9/28/2011 at 7:45 AM

Private User To check connections between people other than yourself use the "Green Pushpin" on the top right hand of their profile.

Private User
9/28/2011 at 8:45 AM

@Malka Mysel (Krausz)

9/28/2011 at 10:49 AM

Private User You should be able to send a birthday or anniversary message without getting the Plus pay wall.

Private User
9/28/2011 at 9:16 PM

@Michelle Kempner
It is very interesting that the day after I started this discussion I was able to send a birthday greeting that I was not able to do just five days earlier.
If you want the proof, it is in black and white. Today I sent a greeting to a person I greeted a few days earlier in a different way, and complained about Geni.
Or that Geni management is going to push us as hard as we allow them?
If they are having financial problems now, wait and see what happens when more and more people become dissatisfied and jump ship. It will be a complete desaster... their demise.

9/29/2011 at 5:04 AM

I agree with Daniel Levy. (Thanks for the important post)
At first we (All the hardworking genealogist) build the Geni database and merged thousands of People and invited even more.
Its fair that you would like to make some money on extra service, but thats not the point here.. Geni pulled the entire idea apart when they started charging for free service like "Merge".
For my own part I think that I would start to remove as many Ancestors as possible (750+), and generally tell all family to avoide the Geni website.

10/21/2011 at 11:31 AM

Benjamin Schoenbrun
9/28/2011 at 6:32 AM
If Geni's objective really were to create an accurate family tree, it would let non-pro users approve match requests and perform merges within the close family. The current restrictions hinder both types of users.

Benjamin, you are absolutely correct. Although I'm a PRO user at present, I won't be as soon as my subscription is up. People not even remotely related to my family tree have screwed it up in such a way that I'm unable to fix it. My OWN tree that I entered by hand is no more...I'm shown as not being related to my own 5th etc. great grandparents. AND, some known wives have been removed! People have merged and mixed and remerged until there are three or more families intertwined. This site is a huge, giant joke!

10/21/2011 at 12:20 PM

Kristian Kirkholt Unless you are the only descendant and only manager, you should not delete your SHARED ancestors. That is unfair to other descendants. It's one thing to decide Geni is not for you, it's another thing to purposely harm the family tree of other people.

10/21/2011 at 12:26 PM

Janice Weeks Hollenczer -

Two things:
(1) your post is contradictory because on the one hand you complain about people doing bad merges in your tree and on the other hand you demand that everyone, regardless of knowledge or experience, be capable of merging profiles
(2) as was explained twice, curators would be happy to make your well documented/sourced profiles Master Profiles and even to lock them if necessary

All of us have experienced the things you describe - having our trees messed up and also having the relationships change as the tree changes. Most of us do the work required to maintain a collaborative tree, some of which annoys us too like DUPLICATES in the historic tree. We realize that the relationships DO change as the tree is worked on and where there is a problem we work with Geni staff and other users to fix it. Often the issues resolve as the tree stabilizes.

In summary, many of us have found Geni to continue to be a good place for genealogy, despite the obvious issues with a collaborative approach.

I would urge you to seek out help from those who offered it to you to make your profiles MPs and to document / source them to prevent future issues. Instead of just griping. I understand venting. We've all been there. But there is a positive, productive path forward.

And as for the title of this thread, I'm embarrassed for the person who started it, that they use bad language to make their point. Very childish.

Private User
10/21/2011 at 5:33 PM

Hatte - you claim Janice in her post demanded that "everyone, regardless of knowledge or experience, be capable of merging profiles"

This is not what I see when I read her post. I see her suggesting Geni should "let non-pro users approve match requests and perform merges within the close family." -- within their close family -- NOT everyone by any means.

re: "regardless of knowledge or experience" - Perhaps you feel folks within the close family are less likely to be knowledgeable about a given Profile/Person than total strangers who simply payed money to buy a Pro Membership - personally I doubt it.

10/21/2011 at 5:46 PM

You're correct Lois. I misread that sentence in Janice's post. I thought she was asking for everyone to be able to merge any profile. My apologies for misreading.

Private User
10/21/2011 at 7:04 PM

Hatte - misreading can happen to any of us. Thanks for being gracious!

10/21/2011 at 7:09 PM

Thanks Lois. Have a good evening.

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