Overview - What is Appropriate

Started by Private User on Wednesday, October 17, 2018
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Private User
10/17/2018 at 6:59 PM

In https://www.geni.com/discussions/166171?msg=1248039 , in which requests are made to have profiles MPd, one of the Curators made a comment which majorly raised this question in my mind. Below, I separate the two sentences, because I think they are two separate, but often intertwined, issues:

"I removed most of the text from his About as it had no genealogical information in it that i could see.

Please refrain from copying entire Wikipedia articles into Geni profiles, an excerpt with a link should be enough for anyone who is curious to learn more."

Private User
10/17/2018 at 7:04 PM

as I asked there,

"re your comment above: "I removed most of the text from his About as it had no genealogical information in it that i could see."
-- I thought Geni wanted, and at the very least allowed, information in the Overview Section about the Person's life - thought Geni was about Family History, not just Genealogy - valued information on a person's life, activities, etc. Are you actually
a) removing non-genealogical information when you see it
or b) removing such information before making a Profile a Master Profile
and/or c) against non-genealogical information being on a Profile's Overview
or ??

Or was this mainly just an issue of not wanting to Master a Profile that you felt violated Copyright Rules, and was I incorrectly reading something else into it?"

and the answer was:
"mostly Option D.
The About was a copy and paste of 100% of the Wikipedia page. If the wikipedia article was more focused or just a sentence or two i would have left it but hundreds/ thousands of words describing the different phases of his career are i think unjustifiable either in regard to possible copyright issues or genealogical relevance. Simply stating that he was a famous architect and giving a link is enough in my personal opinion."

Private User
10/17/2018 at 7:09 PM

Another user mentioned, immediately after my question above, and Before the Answer
"I agree.
I have a group about this topic: [https://www.geni.com/projects/The-Wikipedia-issue/49614]."

If I understand the information in that Project, it is totally legal to quote large sections, even all, of a Wikipedia Article, if you "attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work.)"

10/17/2018 at 7:19 PM

Hi Lois

I’m going to give you an “it depends” answer. :)

1) I agree that copy / pasting a long wiki article into the about is unnecessary & distracting.

2) I agree that Biography is an important part of a Geni Master Profile.

3) I agree we’re a genealogy site and family details should be front & center. I find it difficult to have to “fish through” narrative to extract who the parents, spouses & children are, as example. Maybe that’s just me.

So for me: a note that he’s a famous architect is really not enough. I want to know more, and without needing to leave the site.

Writing bios is not easy, but editing down to more salient details should be something we can do.

Private User
10/17/2018 at 7:30 PM

1) Is it appropriate or inappropriate to include non-genealogical information about a person's life on a profile? Does the answer depend on how much space is taken up by the "non-genealogical info"

2) If one person has chosen to include non-genealogical information, is it appropriate for another person to remove that information? Are there circumstances where it is appropriate, and ones where it is not appropriate?

3) If someone has quoted from Wikipedia - is it appropriate, in order to avoid Copyright violation, to remove much or all - or should the remedy be to add whatever is necessary for properly attributing the work?

Private User
10/17/2018 at 7:41 PM

Ah - Erica got in with answering while I was writing my comment/list of questions that appears just under hers. So she has already addressed some of them some.
I will read her links after I post this.

In addition to Erica, want to tag Alex Moes who said "Happy to discuss further if you wish to break off a separate discussion and tag me."

And Private User - for any comments on any of the above, and especially for info on what we can, without violating copyright, include from Wikipedia.

10/17/2018 at 7:41 PM

Now we get into “it depends” again, and I am “only” going to speak about my practices.

1) I curate a lot of over long, over duplicated & messy profiles!! So my priority is help getting those cleaned up & Welcome assistance from managers & interested members. My practice is to archive the previous “about” as a text document, so contributions are not lost, and stay with the profile.

2) can’t answer as it has never come up on my managed or curated profiles.

3) Yes, Citations should be added, and this should be a priority.

10/17/2018 at 7:45 PM

Re 1) again

It’s not so much about length, it’s about readability & formatting.

Everyone has preferred styles, there’s not a right or wrong, but I would recommend vital statistic details “above the fold” in the overview so it can be glimpsed easily in tree view.

For the obit of a grand parent this may be much “less” necessary.

Private User
10/17/2018 at 8:14 PM

Erica - Would you say what is "appropriate" may vary, depending on whether one is talking about a Master Profile?

I know Geni definitely talked a whole lot about how Geni was for Family to share info on Family, so to me, lots of info on the person's life is totally appropriate.
And if I actually managed to get something written up, I would be furious if someone, Curator or not, came along and simply deleted all or a large chunk of it because it was not "genealogy" --
One relative, now deceased, wrote somewhere - sometimes in the About, sometimes elsewhere - on every relative he had ever had contact with - comments on their life and/or his interaction with them or etc. I would be heart-broken if anyone deleted those because they were 'family history' or 'character description' etc, not genealogy. And I would think it would be a major loss. [in this case, do not even want spelling corrected]

10/18/2018 at 12:46 AM

I cannot imagine a situation where that would happen, Lois. I curate many profiles “on behalf” of family; I don’t lock anything (unless they ask); I don’t edit the overview. I might correct a typo in the basic fields but probably not even the name fields without checking.

We do have the ability to lock overviews, rarely used, probably should more often on historic profiles, so the junk doesn’t creep back.

Lois, the discussion was about MPs for “notables.” I don’t think it would occur to “any” curator to edit on near family.

I have a distant cousin who wrote up a narrative for our common ancestor on another site. I got his permission to quote it. Wouldn’t change a word, even if there are little factual errors [I can note those as an annotation]. His excitement at finding the man is more important. The same would apply to a quoted obituary, I think; easy to add on with [“misprint: Marie should be Mary”].

Private User
10/18/2018 at 1:20 PM

THIS Discussion is about ALL profiles, and what is Appropriate in the Overview.
Yes, it was inspired by a comment in the Discussion "Curators: My profile is good enough to be a Master Profile"
A Curator explicitly said there ""I removed most of the text from his About as it had no genealogical information in it that i could see."
That comment really spooked me, and I think all the implications should be seriously addressed.

Do people feel what is appropriate in the Overview for an MP is different from what is appropriate in some other Profiles? And if so, how and when does one draw the line? What are the differences?

Since any Public Profile can be changed to MP by a Curator without any permission needed from anyone - should all Public Profiles follow whatever criteria is wanted on MPs, or ?? What about Private Profiles? Living folks? Those in your Max Family, those in your Immediate Family. Your own profile?

Each of us is eventually going to die - if we write up a description of ourself while we are alive, is it supposed to be deleted as soon as our Profile is marked 'unclaimed' by Customer Service, or ??
If it is decided someone's grandparent or etc. should be MPd, does that mean whatever family info and/or descriptive info and/or history of the person in it should be deleted, or ?? Or is it always inappropriate to have that sort of info in the About?

Private User
10/18/2018 at 1:25 PM

Alex Moes - hope you will chime in soon.

Also interested to hear what any others think (do not want this to be just myself and Erica).

10/18/2018 at 3:01 PM

I am going to chime in again and reiterate a couple of issues.

1. The conversation that spooked you was about a “notable” and a copy / paste from Wikipedia. Full stop.

Re: Since any Public Profile can be changed to MP by a Curator without any permission needed from anyone - should all Public Profiles follow whatever criteria is wanted on MPs, or ?? What about Private Profiles? Living folks? Those in your Max Family, those in your Immediate Family. Your own profile?

This is not the case. Permission is needed to make a Master Profile when there is claimed family nearby.

10/18/2018 at 3:55 PM

Lois, i am not deleting anyone's family history or personal memories they make for wonderful reading. My comments were specifically regarding profiles where the Wikipedia article is copied in it's entirety, also in that specific case while there was a link to wiki it was hidden as a hyperlink so in effect it was unattributed which would be against wikis rules as posted by Anders.

The other issue i have with copying whole pages from wikipedia (or anywhere else) is that wikipedia is a live site with constantly changing content. Many a time i have found profiles where sure to merging the About contains several copies of the wiki text except that as the wiki page changes over time the text being copied is slowly morphing out changing drastically.

Personally if i was new to Genic and all i saw was a bunch of wikipedia quotes I'd be thinking why don't i just read wikipedia?

I am not sure if i have addressed all your points.

Should there be different approaches to making profiles? No definitely not. The requests in the MP thread seem these days to lean towards notable persons but the MP was created as a merging tool to protect accurate information from being diluted by bad data from duplicate profiles. Everyone should be trying to make "good" profiles everywhere in the tree

Private User
10/18/2018 at 7:14 PM

According to this Help entry - "Public profiles in the World Family Tree or in the same tree as a curator can be made into Master Profiles." -- There is NO mention of any requirement for permission, whether or not there is claimed family nearby.

contrast with what it says about Private Profiles:
"Curators may also send a Master Profile request to the managers of private profiles. By accepting the request, the profile manager grants permission to make the profile a Master Profile. The Curator who submitted the request will become the Curator of the profile."

If it actually is the case that "Permission is needed to make a Master Profile when there is claimed family nearby." - please provide a link to where that is spelled out/officially said. Also, if possible, see if you can get them to update/correct that Help Topic.

10/18/2018 at 8:35 PM

I should have been clearer; private profiles.

I do not get involved with the help platform, sorry.

Private User
10/18/2018 at 9:50 PM

So - trying again -

Since any Public Profile can be changed to MP by a Curator without any permission needed from anyone - should all Public Profiles follow whatever criteria is wanted on MPs, or ??

Private User
10/18/2018 at 10:21 PM

Alex - I am thrilled to read your first sentence above - the impression I got from the original comment that I quoted at the start was really at odds with how I viewed you and how I thought you operated.
However -- this Discussion was inspired by that comment --- BUT - it is not limited simply to just that situation. The comment got me thinking, and this is trying to ask the more general question of what actually is, ideally, appropriate in the About Section, does it vary, and if so, depending on what.
So - if it is possible to no longer feel accused, and give some thought to the question, I would be grateful.

Do I take it that "Should there be different approaches to making profiles? No definitely not." - means you believe all profiles should follow the same criteria, whether Master Profiles, or close family, or etc? And if so - what would that criteria be, ideally, in your opinion?

Erica - it seemed to me you were saying what was appropriate for the Overview in a Profile of a Geni-user's grandmother might well differ from what was appropriate for MPs of 'notables' - Not sure if that is what you meant, or ??

Also, not sure if "Everyone has preferred styles, there’s not a right or wrong,"
is compatible or incompatible with "Should there be different approaches to making profiles? No definitely not."

10/18/2018 at 10:25 PM

Lois, i already answered that question for you in my last paragraph.

10/18/2018 at 10:26 PM

Cross posting now, my post of a minute ago was to your previous post

10/18/2018 at 10:28 PM

LOL i love your questions Lois, i shall try to reply faster but life gets in the way.

10/18/2018 at 10:42 PM

I think it is important to remember that users request MP status for various reasons and also not all Curators use the tool equally.

I hope no one minds a biblical allusion,; Geni is god, MP is apple, Curators are Adam n Eve. I won't say users are the serpent but we're running out of casting options :)
So to expand: Geni gives us the tool to use but how why and when we use it is a personal choice and then (for the scientists) you have to bear in mind the fourth dimension (time) because individual curators will behave differently on different occasions.

I noticed erica's mention of permissions and would probably have eventually corrected the misunderstanding, except u beat me to it. However there are no firm rules about what a MP is/should be, i am sure u have read Mike's original post and the ones i made early on the discussion thread for requesting MPs

10/18/2018 at 10:44 PM

So i guess what i am trying to say is there are no rules for how a MP About is made just as the are no rules how a non-MP profiles About is made. With no rule for either it's impossible to say should the rules for both be the same.

10/18/2018 at 10:47 PM

Perhaps one of you will do me the favor of tagging the project (which i think was predominantly Erica's work) setting out a template for how a good MP profile should be presented.

Finding and tagging things with a phone is even worse than typing on one

10/18/2018 at 11:03 PM

I get very nervous about “policy” questions, Lois, because I don’t make them, I just follow the rules; which are mostly embedded in the software functions. So please, please - I can only talk about my practices. Is that OK?

There are different needs in different parts of the tree. I just merged in the 403rd copy of John Howland, "Mayflower" Passenger, if I had waited to make a Master Profile of it to “best practice,” there would be 402 separate John Howland trees, and Richard Gere ‘s Ancestry would be a mess. (John Howland, "Mayflower" Passenger is Richard Gere's 6th great aunt's great grandfather! https://www.geni.com/path/Richard-Gere+is+related+to+John-Howland-M...)

Yes, one may very well use a different “style” in Biography for a current movie star than an First American Colonist. Or not. The goals however are the same: sourced, cited, accurate, and easy to read.

The links between the Mayflowers ancestral to Mr. Gere may or may not be well sourced or MP’d. As a curator my priority is to “make them all one,” so the single world family tree is as accurate as possible for the most.

You as a member are not tasked with this, your priority is your own accurate genealogy. Curators are at your Service to help you achieve that goal. Hence the discussion, “my profile is good enough to be an MP!”

We have small troop of curators working in Colonial America, most are not especially active in discussion, but they’re there “tree cleaning” every day. And it’s not nearly enough to keep up with demand. The MP tool benefits the tree cleaners also.

10/18/2018 at 11:08 PM

Alex Moes I had tagged https://www.geni.com/projects/Geni-Master-Profile-best-practices/28084 up thread. I think it holds up well.

This is the example member created, non notable, MP

Ensign Caleb Olin

10/18/2018 at 11:17 PM

And by the way, Geni says: Richard Gere is your 9th cousin once removed.


Through much more obscure early Colonists.

Private User
10/19/2018 at 4:48 PM

I believe it is pertinent to include ALL means of BLOOD LINE CONTINUATION including but not limited to RAPE, WILLFUL INDIFFERENCE, etc... But that's just me.


I am always,

10/19/2018 at 6:04 PM

I don't think it's pertinent to this conversation but i do agree with you.

One of the available variants that Geni offers for the spousal relationship is "partner" which can be interpreted extremely broadly.

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