Richard Otis Example and some tips on avoiding the issues it demonstrates

Started by Randy Stebbing on Friday, January 14, 2011


Profiles Mentioned:

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1/14/2011 at 5:46 PM

Issue#1: Typos
The Richard Otis profile currently attached to this project: Richard Otis (revision: 12/25/2010 at 11:30) has a paragraph overview section. I did a Google search for the text and believe that the original source of the text pasted into the about me section was this web page:

Both the original online doc on the worldconnect link, and the text pasted for the Otis profile, have the same mistakes.... for example an extra space in the middle of the word Massachusetts.

Both probably were initially populated by a badly transcribed notes from a users home genealogy program's notes, exported as a gedcom file and then imported into in the days that the site allowed gedcom imports. If not that, then they are the result of a copy and paste operation based on some badly formatted original information.

Recommendation: Some browsers offer autospell checking when filling in forms (like Firefox). If you were to misspell Massachusetts as "Mass achusettes" (with an extra space in the middle) then Firefox would underline the misspelled word in red. Other browsers like IE can do the same thing if you install 3rd party addons like the iespell addon. So one tipfor better profiles is to use tools already built into browsers that help alert you the moment there is a problem like when you are first typing or pasting in text:)

Another tip is to edit the "about me" section in an external editor that includes built in spell checkers and then just paste the finished results into Just make sure that you test the conversion to make sure that you aren't introducing other hard to fix problems!

Perhaps should investigate adding spell checkers into the web site that work across different browser.

Issue #2: Long URL's

Near the bottom of the current profile are some links to some really long url's that link to google books. Google has a service that will shorten long url's so that they are easier to use (and look nicer). The web site that will shorten the url is

For example this long url:

Was shortened to this:

I'm currently not using shortened urls for any of the info I post on but I'm considering it and would appreciate other users thoughts on the subject.


1/14/2011 at 5:50 PM

Hmm, with relation to the shortened URL's, is it possible to instead title your URL link differently (oh, once upon a time ago I knew how to do this in HTML markup!)?

Private User
1/15/2011 at 8:19 PM

I like the idea of shortened links (like through,,, or other services), but even more than that, I'd rather use the built-in link creator that's already in the profile editing interface. See this screencap if you're unsure where to find it:

I like the idea of preserving the original link without shortening it because it allows the editor and viewer to see the true URL before clicking on it. Also, you never know when one of those shortening services might go under...

1/15/2011 at 9:08 PM

I had to make sure I'm not curating the profile ... I am now! :)

It's nicely laid out. I don't mind the transcription errors, they're kind of charming.

If you alias the long URL of a google book it won't show. Or even better, use the permanent handle generated by documents and a text citation as the alias. That's my preferred method.

1/16/2011 at 7:56 AM


Yes, that's aliasing the URL and now possible in Geni (wasn't at the time she made the links, I think).

It's the bracket / globe icon in Wiki markup.

* [ This is the site

only take out the spaces so it's all together.

Private User
2/9/2011 at 3:15 PM

I prefer the "aliasing" method. The final product is more easily read.

3/18/2011 at 8:03 AM

A word of caution on they EXPIRE! The bracketed URLs are much nicer and will still tie to the page in five years, even if the website changes names/addresses.

I don't know about Google or others, but we used tinyurl at my office for a convention sign up site and it expired in the middle of registration and we had to create a new one, which was was not pretty.

Private User
3/27/2011 at 12:38 PM

FYI: I've been discovering that some links that end in special characters are not rendered properly by Geni, so you cannot alias them. In those cases, I've been using TinyURL. Anita, TinyURL links don't expire, so I am guessing something went wrong in your particular case. Sorry to hear that.

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