Currently when you join Geni the first piece of information you type in is your name and email address, this leads to a second screen where the user is a node in a new tree and is invited to add their parents etc.
I think that rather than the second screen starting a new tree it should instead direct to the Search People function with filters in place "Unclaimed profile" and "born after 1912".
This way a new user rather than automatically starting a new tree would be more likely to spot themselves in any existing trees. Applying the filters should reduce the results down to not be too daunting, unless the new users name is John Smith, and if no matching results exist the software would go automatically to making a new tree.
The software needs to allow the option of making a new tree even if matches are found. Even if the matches are absolutely definitely the same person.
But - should matches be found, and the person want to claim one of those profiles as his/her own - what then?? Is the software going to automatically do the merge/make that his Profile? OR Is the software going to automatically send a geni-message to the Primary Manager of that unclaimed Profile telling him that so-and-so thinks this is themselves, and please send them an invite at such-and-such an e-mail address - OR ??
What if not enough info shows for them to tell for sure whether or not that is themselves? Then what do you see happening next?
And remember - no more likelihood of Primary Manager of Profile still being active, paying attention than for other merges -- Plus maybe Primary Manager doesn't want to give up Management of the Profile. How long is someone supposed to wait in limbo, before being able to go on with his/her tree? OR what do you see happening?
I'd say automatically allowing someone to claim a profile is probably not a good option as it could casue privacy issues, so NO to that idea.
Automatic merge request? Yes also automatic public discussion and curator notification so that if the Primary Manager (i hate that "primary") is inactive others can be involved quickly.
I don't recall exactly what priviledges a new user has, by all means let them have a profile but encourage them to review the existing tree and have a bit of patience before building a new one. Because i do not want relatives spammed by Geni requests (i invited on Aunt and that was her exact complaint) i do not use the "Invite" function. As a result i have had an uncle join Geni without me realising it and he created about 30 profiles before i realised what was happening and phoned him to explain merging. Since then i have had a cousin join who also has started a new tree i have requested a merge and sent her Geni messages but without a phone number or email address i can't contact her directly, i think in both cases these family members would not have started trees if they were informed when joining that they were already on the World Tree.
That might be another filter, that the unclaimed living profile need be connected to the World Tree.
Alex -- I strongly suggest you spread the word among your family that you have this Tree up on Geni and anyone that is interested should contact you - and definitely offer to send an invite to any that indicate an interest. Spread the word that they should NOT start their own tree, but rather should get invite from you, so they can join your tree, see all you have done, etc. Folks do not get any more spam from the invite than from joining Geni, so no need to avoid invites as a way to protect them from spam.
Do feel free to warn that some find Geni's messages too much, tell them how to go to Accounts settings and control what messages are sent.
Fair enough. I was thinking you were purposely going that route with relatives and wanting Geni to intercept them. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
As to what privileges a new user has: - if they don't pay, they have the privileges of any other Basic User. On the other hand, some folks automatically pay when first joining - in which case they would have all the privileges of whichever membership they paid for - Plus or Pro.
Lois, i meant that i don't recall what a new user, who has no connection to the World Tree, can see.
The first day i visited Geni i signed up straight away and within 24 hours had +31000 blood relatives (not a normal experience i would think). So i am not sure exactly what a new user who has stumbled across Geni but not found their own profile will experience.
What i do know is that there is a percentage of Geni profiles in small isolated private trees built by new users not realising their families are already present in Geni, if those users do not become involved in the merging process those trees become permenantly isolated (not intentionally for privacy).
I think a small effort to encourage new users to check Geni for their own or very close relations profiles before they start entering data would improve that situation.
Our thinking on this has been to surface tree matches as quickly as possible, rather than try to funnel the user into a merge flow that they'll have to wait for approval on, before they can continue working on their tree. I think we have more work to do there, possibly something like an instructional pop-up the first time a match shows up in your tree.
January saw an enormous amount of new, small duplicative trees. I probably spent a week or two just merging with Master Profiles that I curate from Colonial America. There really needs to be a quick introduction that helps people (1) search to see whether a profile already exists (2) realize that many historic individuals and their family trees are already in Geni.
Sharon and Jadra pointed out that there are portals for South Africa and for Croatia that help new users. It occurred to me several days ago that the new American user who wants to connect to Mayflower or British aristocracy is probably a high percentage of new users at any moment, yet we have no good introduction for them, no portal as was set up for other communities. Colonial America is like quicksand, constantly being edited or having pristine branches messed up with merges. That's not even taking into account all the blue "X"'s in the tree because someone has proposed a merge with a standalone duplicate tree of a user who never responds.
Hatte. Basic members cannot search at all without using Google. We've recently merged in two new members who communicated with us by the most roundabout methods.
One saw the magnifying glass (possible match) on a profile he had entered and finally worked out how to contact me (the manager) via Google.
The other found his grandfather via Google. The Google display showed myself as the manager, so he sent me a message and I was able to assist. Basic members cannot do this.
In Lists - could there be a way to see "New since ...." and you fill in a date - this would be in addition to choosing between "Managed By", "Family Tree", etc. - so you would look at, for example: merges for profiles in your "Family Tree" where the merges were discovered by/suggested by Geni "New since" whatever date you enter?
If so, I would strongly suggest when one of us experienced users discovers a new match that looks valid - send the Manager of that Profile a Geni message. A nice personalized message from you which explains how you are related or concerned, and lets them know you can help merge if they are interested is much more likely to get a response than the automated merge request. And majorly more so given the fact that Basic Users cannot accept or reject the automated merge request. With a personal message to the Manager, even if they are Pro and not interested in merging, you have a decent chance of getting a response - which should lower frustration levels as you know where you stand.
If all experienced Users keep an eye on the list on the Home Page of "New Tree Matches", noticing when those change, they can do this now to a certain extent.
Still not clear what you mean - do you mean1)send a Geni-Message to the Profile Manager -- or 2)click "more" on Tree and then choose move the profile, and drag to other profile and click/choose same or3) click on the circled 1 in the tree and select that match and say match, or 4)???
Or is there a Curator function called "merge a duplicate public profile"?
None of the above. For a disconnected tree, if a member finds a match (any method of discovery), they can propose a merge. There's a warning sign at the bottom in red. The proposed merge request goes to the disconnected tree manager, who can complete it. If they are not PRO however they will also need to collaborate (public profiles) or be in the same family group (private profiles).
"That's not even taking into account all the blue "X"'s in the tree because someone has proposed a merge with a standalone duplicate tree of a user who never responds."
Hatte. If a merge request is sent to a Basic member, any attempt to accept or decline the merge by that member will be met with an "Upgrade to Pro" requirement. They would not proceed further.
I'm sure that this accounts for the outstanding merges - not because the Basic member does not want to merge. You MUST send a message telling them what to do first - or you're wasting your time.
It doesn't matter if the profiles are public, or in a standalone tree - the same applies. Basic members cannot merge without help.
Sending a collaboration request without explanation doesn't work either. One member tried the merge AND THEN responded to the collaboration request. It didn't work, so gave up and left Geni.
If a Basic user encounters the "Upgrade to Pro" requirement from Geni they will not continue. They will not bother with the collaboration request, and probably won't even open it.
There are many thousands of uncompleted merges out there. The chance of any of these being accompanied by a helpful message is close to nil.
I wish Pro's would look at this from the point of view of the Basic member.
The same member I've mentioned had only entered 17 profiles when he got a merge request. The "Upgrade to Pro" appeared when he attempted responding, so assumed he couldn't do much, and left Geni. He only wanted to enter his tree.
Geni is a piece-meal system that even long-term members and curators don't fully understand. To imbue a new member with substantial knowledge of the system is one of the problems. It seems like a mine-field to a new user.
For a new member, finding out how it all fits together is an adventure by itself.
The advice they want is probably there - it will be in the Help tab - or the Wiki - or in the About - or Projects perhaps. Why not try Discussions? It could be in several, with conflicting advice.
Who on earth would think of looking in Projects for advice and help?
Erica, I know the topic of Help screens has been raised many times, but it is never so important as when merging. From recent discussions, even curators aren't sure of the requirements.