. . . a single, collaborative world family tree . . .

Started by Peter De Bie on Friday, August 12, 2011


Profiles Mentioned:

Showing 211-240 of 514 posts
11/8/2011 at 4:06 PM

Private User the fact that you only have three collaborators tells us all that you weren't merging anyway, so why all the fuss? And as Michelle said, this is a mute point now. All merges MUST be approved by someone on the private tree before it is added to the world tree. If anything Geni has harmed the the goal of one world wide tree rather than harming any one user. Go Geni!!!! Thanks for listening to our concerns and fixing it!!!!!

11/8/2011 at 4:15 PM

Anita, amen to that! Geni had to make decisions and I'm just happy that Geni is listening to our concerns and issue and tries to fixing it!

Private User
11/8/2011 at 5:13 PM

I had over 30 collaborators. Some left Geni as they couldn't do any more, others didn't need to collaborate anymore as they were Pro members and could do anything anyway.

A moot point now? Three people I was working with got merged into the world tree and have left Geni as a consequence. I won't see them again on the tree.

Private User
11/8/2011 at 5:23 PM

Until August, merging and collaborating were two different functions. You could merge with another tree without collaborating beyond the common profile.

Some people preferred this so that they could still manage their own tree. This didn't present a problem as their tree was visible to myself and others - they just didn't want their research altered.

Private User
11/8/2011 at 6:28 PM


You are a Pro member. Your collaborators are not relevant anymore - collaborating doesn't provide anything extra to a Pro member. If you deleted your collaborator list, nothing would change.

Private User
11/8/2011 at 7:03 PM

I agree with Ken that Basic users should keep their trees and all profiles on them private for the time being. But I doubt they will since new users aren't going to grasp that making them public (which I don't even think they have the option of beyond a certain degree of relatedness) will mean Pro users will initiate merges that will lock their accounts. Yes, the new change does let them veto merges - but again, a new user may not grasp that that locks the account.

For the time being merging activity should be focused on eliminating dupes and NOT adding new trees to the World Tree - the consequences to Basic (& Plus under 1000 profiles) users is just to significant to risk even accidentally denying them ability to keep building their own trees.

11/8/2011 at 7:24 PM


Again, why are speaking for me? I have a family group that WANTS to be public, that WANTS to find family. I'm a PRO, I can take care of the merges, I can take care of the data entry. But they joined Geni to find family and connect - publicly.

Private User
11/8/2011 at 7:38 PM

Erica -

I do not see how you can say Chuck is speaking to you. You are Pro, You are Connected to the World Tree. That is not whom he is speaking to.

If you are saying that in the case where Basic Users have a Pro who is willing and able to do all the work on their tree for them, and who they trust and wish to have do all the work, that Chuck's suggestion perhaps is not applicable - that seems to me to be a separate issue to discuss here.

11/8/2011 at 7:48 PM

I was "speaking" on behalf of my family group of non pros.

11/8/2011 at 7:50 PM

Many, many non premium users are already connected to the world tree and in fact this was "why" they joined Geni.

So to urge members to take their profiles private is not respecting the desires of "other" non pro members.

That is my objection.

Private User
11/8/2011 at 8:42 PM

Erica -

Your family group of non pros is already connected to the World Tree. Any Basic User already connected to the World Tree has, under the New Rules, probably already lost the right to add any profiles.

Ken and Chuck are simply trying to protect other Basic Users from unnecessarily losing this ability to Add Profiles.

How do you suggest we protect them?

11/8/2011 at 8:53 PM

It sounds to me like some people by making formerly public profiles private are saying "I don't like the rules so I am going to pick up my marbles and go home".
Work on improving what you have added ( sources etc ) instead of harping about what you can no longer do.

11/8/2011 at 9:02 PM


To answer you I think about the people in my family group. None of them are in particular need of my protection - the minors were entered by their parents. Everyone, including the over 80s, is a computer user for some years now. Most are "casual" users - I'm the only big tree fanatic; but several have been at family research, off and on, for 20 or more years, and there are a few experts in the group who have more to contribute to shell profiles.

So what exactly am I protecting them from? Again, they can make their one choices.

Private User
11/8/2011 at 9:18 PM


Lois, Chuck and myself are talking about new users on NON-CONNECTED trees. All of your family are on the world tree. Your comments are not relevant.

11/8/2011 at 9:35 PM

A call to ask for profiles to be set to private IS relevant to me. A ton of users don't even know what "being connected to the big tree" is or implies. They would just see "oh wow, I better set my profiles to private!??!!?"

Private User
11/8/2011 at 9:47 PM

They are automatically set to private on a non-connected tree, back for 4 (?) generations.

11/8/2011 at 9:48 PM

And those of us with "brick wall" ancestry take the trouble to ensure they are public and connectable.

Their risk to take.

Private User
11/8/2011 at 10:06 PM

adult people can handle some responsabilities, we hope…

11/9/2011 at 8:21 AM

At the risk of being repetative (from other discussions) ... in my view, the current "limitation rule" was poorly thought out as to the long-term effects of the current implementation. *IF* the purpose is to allow free (Basic) users to "get their feet wet", contribute their unique knowledge to the 'big tree', and encourage them to "grow into" (or be enticed into) a paying membership, then the "limitation" ought to be on the number of profiles "managed" by a user ... not the number of profiles connected.

What concerns me is the long-term ramification of "rules" which encourage people to keep (or revert!) profiles as private -- what does that mean a generation from now? Who's going to keep adding the children and grand-children?

(( Of course, that assumes Geni has an intention of staying around for a "generation".))

Let's assume, for a moment, that the Basic user limit was something real small ... say 25 profiles managed. It seems to me that would allow one to enter their immediate family (of those they are likely to have pretty good info about), but then realize that to "connect with" (collaborate with) the others in their 'family' at least one of them would need to become a paying member in order to "connect" -- or to add more people. This would also encourage people to search for existing profiles to connect with, because that would mean they would not have add them ("manage them") under their own account (and thus add to their own "limit count".

It's all in what one "measures" -- whatever you "measure" will be what drives (most) people's behavior. So becareful that what you "measure" (e.g.: account limitation counts) encourages the behavior you desire.

{{... and that's my philosophical ruminations for today ...}}

11/9/2011 at 8:40 AM

Bravo, Dan!

11/9/2011 at 10:55 AM

The wonderful thing about Geni is the PASSION thousands of users put in what they do. If there is something worth fighting for, it's definitely this.

11/9/2011 at 12:36 PM


I almost agree with you, but I think to be fair the rule should not be based on the number of profiles managed, but on the number of profiles added.

I would very much like Geni to make another change:
Let a basic/plus user add a certain number (at least 1) of new profiles for each merge on a profile that he/she added/managed. That would make merging something that is profitable for a basic/plus user.

Private User
11/9/2011 at 2:07 PM


I just reread your message. Are you saying that if the basic user declined the merge into the world tree, they would still have their account locked?

I has assumed the scenario of a basic user, intending to enter the promised 100 profiles, having one of the profiles being the target of a merge by a Pro member after entering just 20 profiles.

Are you saying that they would be locked, even if they declined this merge?

11/9/2011 at 7:48 PM

@Job Waterreus -- You're taking this a step further than I was thinking. What you are suggesting is that whenever a person agrees to a merge of a profile they previously managed on their own (which is what happens when you create a profile), then that (now public!) merged profile no longer counts against their "limit" of profiles managed.

Nice addition! It would give incentive to cooperate with merges.

Taking that thought one step further: there is already provision to pass "management" of a profile to another user, so one could "pass on" management of some of 'your' profiles to another family member (presumably a Plus or Pro user) so that you yourself can continue to enter new profiles.

That really, though, brings us back full circle to (almost) the same point: instead of "number of profiles managed by me", the account-type "limit" would be based on "number of profiles *uniquely* (or solely) managed by me".

To keep the financial incentives for Geni, the Basic user probably should not be able to (directly) *complete* any merges or unilaterally hand-over profiles to someone else. We wouldn't want to promote arbitrary merging just in order to reduce the number of profiles "managed uniquely by me".

By doing that, there would be strong incentive for one or more "family members" to have a paid account because at least one paid account would have to participate in order to complete either a (public) merge or to accept the hand-off of the management of a profile.

.... Just continuing to muse ... that would also mean that Geni would have to revise their policy about how and to whom they "hand over" the management of abandoned profiles. Such "orphans" ought not be given to a Basic user, for sure.

{{I lied ... that earlier note of mine was not the end of philosophical ruminations for today ...}}

11/9/2011 at 8:12 PM

-- as I re-read the last couple of paragraphs above -- the merges would not necessarily be public profiles; they could be within the "family" (e.g.: connecting grandfather's siblings, for instance) -- but, of course, to connect into the "Forest" (a.k.a. Big Tree), they would have to be public profiles.

(Side note: I would like to see that Geni automatically require (set) deceased ancestors of a public profile be forced public as well -- and checking for zombies in the process {zombie == marked living, but clearly should be deceased}. That way, if one makes a "public merge" in the middle of a previously private tree there would not be private profiles hanging around in the ancestral connections. If you agree to a public profile merge, you are agreeing that all the ancestors are also public profiles.)

11/9/2011 at 8:33 PM


Dan, keep your thinking cap going. I feel terrible that I "baited" unknown cousins by building shell trees for them, and now they are penalized and forced to pay up if they claim them instead of building them out as I intended them to do.

11/9/2011 at 8:51 PM

Private User

What's your reaction to Job's and Dan's thoughts?

11/9/2011 at 8:57 PM

Tagging @Mike Stangel (a Geni person) so they are at least aware of this line of thinking ...

Private User
11/10/2011 at 3:12 AM

Well, I guess I'll say it again.

Paid users come from one place. Free users. Period. If you limit or stop the incentives to invite new people to the site, Geni will die quickly. It takes quite a lot to see the benefits of Geni. Personally, I got to around 8,000 person tree before I was able to "reach" to the "big tree" and see how awesome Geni is.

I had no problem paying for lifetime membership, because I saw the permanent, long term value that the site _had_. I have to say had because if Geni is going to eliminate a free user's ability to add fourth cousins and closer, then MY lifetime membership is worth far less. I was hoping to use Geni to connect with distant family and let them add their own information! Now they can only edit profiles I've added? That's asinine. (Or rather, that's Ancestry)

Suffice to say, it's a terrible model. It's why Geni was about to dominate the genealogy world like Facebook dominated Classmates.com and over 100 other popular social networks. Facebook won because it remained free.

But I have to be blunt with Job and Dan's suggestions. I like their spirit, but suggesting that free accounts can only add or manage 25 or 100 profiles each is just absurd. The value in Geni is letting everyone contribute. Paid features are great, but if a user cannot see the amazing value in a Geni membership from their FREE account, then why would they ever pay?

I think an absolute bare minimum free user condition should be fourth cousins and closer, plus 100 more people direct ancestors outside their fourth cousin tree.

This is the path to exponential growth. More paid users will come from more free users.

If Geni is struggling for money, then the solution is give more and more responsibility of "managing" Geni over to Curators. That's the thing about any wiki project. Wikipedia has a tiny number of paid employees, who are mostly engineers. Let the community to the "busy" work.

Geni shouldn't be looking for more money through more paid users today, they should be looking to offload more of the management of Geni to volunteers.

And if Geni hits a money crunch, do what Wikipedia does. Ask for donations. Put Pro memberships on sale for a few days. "Sales" exist in all forms of commerce because they work. People like getting a "good deal"

So the question is. Does Geni want to be Classmates.com, or Facebook.com ???

Private User
11/10/2011 at 4:11 AM

…and if they want to be facebook.com, how do they protect us from identity-fraude, childrens-kidnapping and other inconveniances that occur as soon as not-so-wise proflles of mankind enjoy transparancy? a hell of a job and till now I'm so glad they did it without trying to influence me with so irritating marketing, sales and other reclame-techniques of agressive money-making company's.

Showing 211-240 of 514 posts

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