Standards for Merging, Unmerging, etc.

Started by Marsha Gail Veazey on Thursday, June 17, 2010


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6/17/2010 at 10:56 AM

I would like to propose that we (the Collaboration Pool Genies) come up with, if not a standard, perhaps a guideline, on what to do in certain situations. For instance,

1. When you see that the last merge request was X months ago and the merge still hasn't gone through, should you go ahead and request again (given that it is a person who is not participating in the Human Family Tree cleanup and/or Collaboration Pool) or do you unmerge and leave the profile out of the HFT? And if you unmerge, how many months should you give them to finish the merge?

2. If we decide that unmerging is the cleanest, do we make sure we have all the info we can get from the profile before unmerging? Is there a way to make everyone aware of how helpful that would be?

These are my questions. Does anyone want to comment or add a question to the list? Feel free...

Private User
6/17/2010 at 11:09 AM

What is HFT?

regarding last merge request -
Yes, user should be able to request again and the date stored is the
"last requested date" (or some other db field of that nature). If requested user denies the request then user should have the option to reject the request or reject the requestor.

For unmerging, I would expect that you have captured appropriate reference id's to facilitate data cleanup.


6/17/2010 at 11:13 AM

HFT - Human Family Tree

6/17/2010 at 11:16 AM

Marsha, my $.02...

1. I have been leaving requests out there for 90-120 days. If there is no response, I cancel the request. This changes all of my "Merge request pending"'s to "View Profiles" again. Chances are during that period of time, I now have the permissions to complete many of these merges, or send them to collaborators to complete. Seems to be working well, so far...

2. There are only 3 managers whose profiles I am trying to unmerge from the tree. These 3 managers have blocked me, and bad things happen to my PC when I attempt to send them requests. Beyond that, unless the profile is obviously not correctly stacked, I do not unmerge. The tree looks a lot cleaner with the stacks and the blue button, than if the profiles are unmerged, creating the "I am my own brother/sister" syndrome...


6/17/2010 at 11:19 AM

I like your request guidelines, David.

If you unmerge a profile, though, doesn't it disappear from your view? Aren't you left with only a bubble with a number of a possible tree match (if geni finds it)? I think that would be cleaner than the blue dot. JMNSHO. ;)

6/17/2010 at 11:28 AM

Marsha, if the particular profile isn't linked by relationship somewhere else in the tree, then yes, it floats out of the tree, and can be searched/linked in again. But more often than not, a profile will somehow be connected to another profile by relationship that is already fully merged into the tree. Still haven't figured out how to make those float away, yet....

Private User
6/17/2010 at 11:37 AM

Marsha, - You will never be able to untagle two profile sets because at least some places the profiles are completely merged.

Pending merges are just annoying, undoing them will create conflicts and prevents people from seeing the tree and will also confuse relationship calculation.

I have had several pending merges that got resolved almost a year after requested, - either because the manager suddenly answer, or simply because we got a new collaborative manager.

The anti zombie does also open up for thousands of merges by making locked profiles public and available for collaborator access (or released for free), and there might also pop up collaborators with family group access to merge profiles in an area without being the collaborator with the managers that does not respond. There just popped up such a case in the royal lines when we discovered that an active collaborator was the great grandson of a king.

It might therefore be a good idea to search for claimed profiles in the family group of a profile you have problems to get merged. Just use the filter options in the advanced list controls for that.

My general suggestion is: Just leave the pending merges as they are, but try at least solve parent conflicts.

6/17/2010 at 11:43 AM

I don't totally understand, Bjorn, but I'm going to follow your advice as I trust you know what you're talking about. LOL! Sure hate seeing all the blue dots and yellow exclamation points, though. <sigh>

Private User
6/17/2010 at 11:48 AM

To put it simple: The blue dots are not errors, but just annoying blue dots. If you unmerge the profiles you get errors.

Private User
6/18/2010 at 6:41 AM

in addition to that I would like to suggest the accepted geneology approach of all birth (surnames) be in all CAPS

Private User
6/18/2010 at 6:43 AM

Bjorn can you say more about "anti zombie" and "making locked profiles public and available for collaborator access"

Private User
6/18/2010 at 6:51 AM

Please don't, - there is an OPTION to DISPLAY birth-names in CAPS which you can enable just for your self, - don't force this rule on the rest of us by actually changing the names into all caps.

Let people have the option to choose themselves how to display the names.

The all-caps method was used when you was doing genealogy on papers in the last century, not now using computers.

Private User
6/18/2010 at 6:54 AM

Zombies is explained in this discussion topic where the Geni staff member Noah ask you to post links to areas where he can run his anti-zombie script.

6/18/2010 at 6:57 AM

Thanks for the heads up, I am sure I am guilty of the merge experience. I am new with this program and do not have a lot of time to search it out. I only have access to a computer at work and it is difficult to find the time. It is going to take me longer to work it out. Please give us as much time as possible, it is NOT that we are not interested, but just need to find our way.


6/21/2010 at 11:48 AM

Regarding old pending merges, I wouldn't bother trying to set up a community-wide standard for this just yet -- we're working on further merge enhancements that will make it easier for users to determine where there are merges that they can complete (or approve one side of the merge). Once these are released, a lot of these old pending/requested merges should clear out.

6/21/2010 at 1:00 PM

Michael, sounds interesting. Any more details you can release on how clearing out of old pending merges will work?

6/21/2010 at 4:47 PM

I don't want to steal Noah's thunder, but the idea is to surface more merges that you can do something about, even if a merge request has not been sent specifically to you.

Private User
6/21/2010 at 5:26 PM

Thanks Michael. If it is still possible to influence the design of new merge enhancements, I would make the following comments that you might take into account.

It is possible already to see pending merges on your merge issues list, and to complete a merge that wasn't necessarily sent to you. Then when the person who was sent the merge gets to it, they find it's no longer there, and there is no real explanation as to why.

1. The person who can't now complete the merge gets frustrated, and if this happens too often they may just ignore future merge requests, because "they never work anyway". Not a good outcome.

2. Merge requests often carry with them a request to collaborate or join family. If someone else does the merge, that message doesn't get through.

If I see I need to do (say) 30 merges on public profiles owned by another person who I don't know (call him Fred), I don't send Fred 30 merges, as that would be annoying, bordering on harrassment. Rather I send Fred 1 merge, with a request to collaborate and with text in the message that explains my connection to that part of the tree and what I am trying to achieve. If someone else does the merge, that message is lost. Worse, Fred sees me as someone who sends him merges that don't work, and as the saying goes "you never get a second chance to make a first impression".

I am all for enhancements that help clean the tree, but not if they "go behind people's back" in the first instance. Better in the first instance to get the two profile managers talking with each other (collaborating), but have other methods also available to get around problem areas.

If there are merges that involve my family or where I am the main profile manager, I would much rather that I were approached for the merge, rather than someone going to one of my collaborators because they already collaborate with them, and therefore the merge is "easier". That other third party may know nothing about that tree section, and may make mistakes, and I end up feeling left out and missing the opportunity to strike up a new relationship.

Having said all that, I have had no bad experiences of this nature to date, and I hope that will continue!

7/1/2010 at 12:01 PM

After a lot of false starts and backing up and moving in new directions, I've finally started to get a bit of a system down for merging.

1. First I check pending merges for the profile to see if I can complete them or ask collaborators to complete them.
2. Next I check tree matches for the profile. I run through first to remove matches that are obvious non-matches. Then I do the quick merges (the ones with collaborators) and then, if I'm not burned out, I'll request merges for those that match.
3. Then I go into More Actions and check for Conflicting Data and clear that up.
4. Next I go into More Actions again and see if, by any chance, the profile has been abandoned. If it has, I request management.
5. Then I edit the profile to make sure it fits to modern standards (like no caps).
6. Finally, I go to the tree and click all the blue dots or yellow !s I may find.

It's a really long process but by the end, I feel like I've actually accomplished something. It's not as instantly gratifying as doing just conflicting data issues but it's fun.

Just thought I'd share...

7/1/2010 at 2:32 PM

Thanks for sharing, Marsha. There's one other tool that I think you may find useful (in addition to, or in lieu of step 6) -- if you're working in a particular area of the tree, you can go to any profile in that area and on the "More Actions" pull-down menu, choose "View Nearby Merge Issues"

7/1/2010 at 3:11 PM

Hah! Yes, but I can see clearly all the blue dots and yellow !s nearby on the tree, unfortunately. LOL! But, yes, you're right. Thanks!

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