ATTENTION - IT Specialists, please respond to queries.

Started by Pam Karp - Volunteer Curator on Sunday, July 27, 2014
Problem with this page?


Showing 1-30 of 76 posts
7/27/2014 at 11:41 PM

It has come to my notice that there are many users who feel they are IT amateurs and are uncomfortable about not understanding what appears to them as "technical jargon".

The purpose of this discussion is to create a forum that enables users to pose queries about technical terminology and obtain explanations to seemingly confusing computer language used in some discussions.

Requests recently received have included basic queries such as "how do I send a link", what is an "URL", " what is a hyperlink". These queries could of course be answered by searching some of the FAQ's which may or may not provide an exact answer to the question. However, a direct question in this discussion will elicit a detailed response.

The dual objective of this forum is that it is okay to request assistance and that there is no need to feel embarrassed by a lack of IT knowledge. Many Geni curators are power users (engineers and other highly qualified specialists) who use technical terms in conversations that are simply not understood by other users.

If YOU have come across terminology that is confusing or if you don't understand a technical issue please POST YOUR QUERY in this discussion. It is viewed by many curators daily and one of the IT experts will respond to you.

7/28/2014 at 12:03 AM


What about a glossary section or project ?

7/28/2014 at 12:36 AM

Essential article, so helpful

How to copy, cut and paste

7/28/2014 at 1:14 AM

Erica, from the site you linked and even more helpful:

7/28/2014 at 2:22 AM

Maybe add this discussion as a link from the project page for ?

7/28/2014 at 6:13 AM

The suggestions for expansion of this discussion are welcomed.
Justin Swanstrom, linking this thread to "Geni Start Here Basics" is a natural fit.

Erica Howton
A glossary in this discussion will be self perpetuating. It just needs to be started.

Alex Moes
I opt for reaching out to users' queries with a simple explanation that will be quickly grasped.

It is all part of making the Geni experience more enjoyable.

7/28/2014 at 6:38 AM

Pam Karp - Volunteer Curator As an obscure IT jargon challenged user myself, I applaud this idea, and appreciate the excellent suggestions are already pouring in. It certainly would be helpful to have a Glossary created, potentially with the ability to be expanded continually.

Additionally, inserting within it a prominent directory of helpful Geni links for further user assistance. eg. The Geni Basics Project.

Finally, would it be at all feasible to have such a continuously updated "Glossary/User Link Directory" embedded prominently within the "Help" link at the bottom of each page?

7/28/2014 at 7:14 AM

Private User

Perhaps you could give an opinion of the query posed by
Malka Mysels

"Finally, would it be at all feasible to have such a continuously updated Glossary/ User Link Directory embedded prominently within the "Help" link at the bottom of each page ?"

Malka Mysels
I have no idea how this could be done. Good suggestion !

7/28/2014 at 1:53 PM

Pam, right on! Great idea!

Of course, there is a place for glossaries and guides and FAQs and all the like. But there are questions where users need interaction and collaboration.

I am now following this discussion. I will be happy to help answer user queries when posted.


7/28/2014 at 2:36 PM

I would vote for its own project with glossary on the front page, linked to the Basics project.

Malka - your idea would require retooling. There might already be FAQ on the Help platform for Geni application jargon. I had asked once about FAQ for IT jargon and received a no. However I imagine they would be able to link to a Geni project.

7/28/2014 at 2:37 PM

NB a project is more easily found in project search than a discussion.

7/28/2014 at 3:45 PM

Erica Howton Great points!

7/28/2014 at 5:13 PM

Pam Karp - Volunteer Curator
"...if you give a man a fish he is hungry again in an hour; if you teach him to catch a fish you do him a good turn."

7/28/2014 at 8:40 PM

Erica Isabel Howton, (c)

Valid point about a project being found more easily than a discussion.

Its clear that many users do not understand the most basic functions.

We know where to search for a specific project, which is NOT in "Search" at the top right side of each page! Imagine the frustration when the project name is entered into "Search People" and the title is not found.

I am learning too that we have a group of users who were so enthusiastic and keen to start their genealogy journey that they jumped in and created an account without reading anything about Geni. Preferences not set, no knowledge about the program or functions.

A user too, recently asked "what is the meaning of "FAQ".

Alexander Benjamin Moes
I agree with your analogy. Some of the users though really need hand holding as they learn the process. First we have to teach the man that fish are edible, then we can teach him how to catch the fish.

Mario Morel
Your offer to assist other users is much appreciated.

Great comments all, in the meanwhile I have started a glossary.

7/28/2014 at 9:31 PM

Please don't call me Benjamin :)

I jumped in with both feet and no idea, i still don't read the FAQ (as Erica will attest) but i think a Project may not be the right path.

Private User already started a BASIC User's guide to Geni (which may be the link that Justin posted above) BUT you are talking about Users who cannot cut&paste and don't even know what a FAQ is, so it seems that they initially need general help rather than Geni specific instruction.

With the gap in their knowledge basic computer usage, for which there is ample help online (once you know how to look), why reinvent the wheel and try to replicate all that advice on Geni?

For the very computer challenged you will have to hold their hand just to teach them to look at a project so why not teach them the far more worthwhile (IMHO) lesson of Googling online for help?

7/28/2014 at 9:53 PM


I've never read FAQ in my life although i have (painfully) written my share.

I google it "when I need to know."

Most ways to help learn to use Geni "are" covered in the Help FAQ, footer in link at the bottom of every Geni page.

It would be hard for me to assist in a general way because i know much too much for too long, and I don't understand user queries.

Private User
7/28/2014 at 11:42 PM

Most people does not kpow abput projects and definitey don't bother reading the contents of them.

In general: a lot of reading, especially in a language that is not your primary is a dead end.
We need more video tutorials and examples in the FAQ, and definitely need an opening for translations there.

7/29/2014 at 12:27 AM

I agree with Bjørn.

The advantage of a project page is it functions like a FAQ. Rather than re type, I invite to project, same as I would link to a FAQ.

7/29/2014 at 12:27 AM

Video tutorials in the FAQ available in multiple languages to teach novice computer users to use basic commands?

Erica, i meant that you would confirm that I don't look at the FAQ because your standard answer to most of my queries is to quote a hyperlink to the FAQ.

7/29/2014 at 12:28 AM

Exactly! Because one day you'll search the FAQ in embarrassment at how easy it is to do .... :):)

7/29/2014 at 12:32 AM


Video tutorials to teach basic commands

Aren't there whole YouTube channels for that?

The kinds of "how to" questions I get are more how to merge, how to upload documents, how to tag images, etcetera.

And you need the screenshots.

7/29/2014 at 12:37 AM

I agree with Bjorn that most people don't know about Projects and don't want to sit and read a huge chunk of text just to get going. Videos (especially in various languages) about GENI SPECIFIC activities would be enormously beneficial but that's not the type of knowledge that Pam started the discussion about.

The same goes for the FAQ, if someone doesn't know what a FAQ is theres a good possibility that they wont be able to use it even after you explain what the acronym means

7/29/2014 at 12:39 AM

Cross posting now, Erica :)

Not to be rude but have you read this discussion from the start?

"Requests recently received have included basic queries such as "how do I send a link", what is an "URL", " what is a hyperlink"."

7/29/2014 at 1:50 AM

Which is why I posted the site that led you to the even better article of

"Google it"


7/29/2014 at 2:32 PM

For what it's worth, I have served in many different IT and application support capacities over the past 20 years and what hooked me to Pam's original post is the human touch she wants to inject into the cold and sterile Geni screens as we view them through even colder browsers.

Geni is part of a new breed of network-centric applications. With those, the value of the infostructure does not come as much from searchable "knowledge bases" or "blogs" as it does from the direct sharing between people.

The last century's "Information Age", where information was pre-processed and made available to "information consumers", has entered history books over a decade ago. We, members of the Geni community, want nothing to do with this archaic thinking.

21th Century information management is what David S. Alberts coined: "The Age of Interactions":

Quoting Alberts, "Unlimited possibilities have been unleashed for the ways individuals and organizations can connect and work with one another. These interactions have profoundly changed our world, presenting both a set of challenges as well as providing new opportunities."

Today, we consult Wikipedia before Encyclopedia Britannica. Soon, Geni will be the most reliable source of genealogy information, above subscription-based proprietary databases like PRDH:

Universities have hundreds of collaborators. Geni has hundreds of thousands.

Basically, among us, there are thousands of members ready to share their unique knowledge and experience, about a region, a culture, a historical event, a nation, a people or a family. But before they can do so freely, they have to be able to work "the machine", that is, this IT application layer that too often gets in the way.

Take my father. Recently I showed him Geni. He is not getting any younger and he immediately saw the opportunity to share, before he goes, what he knows of the people of his small childhood village of Saint-Henri-de-Taillon, his people:

He is not stopping. What did it take to unleash my father? A few hours and lot of patience for him to learn the mechanics of the Geni interface. Since this is out of the way, he has already created over 130 profiles of people from his childhood. And this is just the beginning. Priceless.

I say again, for any member who has the desire to share but with technical challenge, I am available to teach you the basic technical skills of Geni, so that we can all grow from your contributions.

Pam, you are absolutely correct. We need to follow through with your plan. I’m with you.

7/29/2014 at 2:50 PM

What a lovely and true post, Mario, thank you.

I delight in fact in helping people learn to navigate Geni and understand it's power. One of my pleasures as a curator has been seeing, in action, the "marriage" of genealogical knowledge and new technologies.

I think our only quibble is what format to easily direct members to what is already written and pictured, and where / how discussions can be raised for more case by case assistance.

So far, for me, it's tended to be step by step through private Geni mail.

For example,

"OK, now you've uploaded the document successfully, excellent. Now you might want to "cite sourced facts," see this FAQ for images of "how to."

7/29/2014 at 6:12 PM

i was thinking we are using a technology but like in /1996 95 with BBS we need more (inside joke for geek yes i was on bss ..wanderes) its about time to get a real time chatroom 24/24 with moderator ..i know a bit i still use Irc Mirc ..yess mario it still exist> :p

irc or watherver client can be an access to newcomer with online page from geni faq/videos and,,,, well we can discuss later

more human touch ,thanks Mario

7/30/2014 at 12:52 AM


Your lovely post is really intuitive of the difficulties facing users who lack any IT familiarity. Thank you so much !

Although there are FAQ 's and Projects, the users who have no understanding of Geni's technology really want some intervention and guiding through the basic processes.

You would understand that some of the new users find it "too hard" when directed to another site/project with equally technically confusing language.

I enjoy working with newbies and watching their first tentative steps develop into confident strides as they make the most of their experience on Geni.

You are the perfect person to help them on their way.

7/30/2014 at 1:40 AM


My biggest problem helping people is I can't find what profile they're asking about.

Best success has been asking them to raise a discussion from the profile, then I can see it.

Of course this means they have to find the discussion tab.

If you could somehow make a screenshot and put it in your Basics project as an image, I can send them the link to that. It would save me so much time!

7/30/2014 at 3:28 AM

As it turns out, I have GoToAssist, a tool that allows a technical support person to securely work with a user's on that user’s own computer in real time. This allows the two people to share their screen and makes it easy to walk through the different steps of an activity, like how to merge profiles.

With GoToAssist, the user does not need to install any software (zero footprint in techie term) and the session sharing is totally secure. This tool, when combined with Skype for example, provides a powerful means of interactive learning.

This is how I could remotely teach my father how to use Geni. Through session sharing.

There are many other good screen sharing tools. But we just need to make sure that whatever kind of interactive session we do is done appropriately and securely. If this is a direction we want to expand further at Geni, we may want to develop collaboration protocols and policies.

Food for thoughts.


Showing 1-30 of 76 posts

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