Friday, March 11, 2016
Upgrade Coming to FamilySearch Research Wiki
The long anticipated upgrade to the FamilySearch.org Research Wiki is apparently now scheduled for March 14, 2016 to March 21, 2016. In keeping with the very conservative nature of the Research Wiki, the changes will not dramatically change the look and feel of the website, but will expand the way the website functions. Here is a screenshot from the Beta version. I assume the upgrade will look something like this.
The main cosmetic difference is that the pages will expand to the entire screen size. The content of the pages will not automatically change and I understand the upgrade will probably cause numerous editing issues.
This upgrade has been in discussion for years, but comes now at a time when the Research Wiki community seems to be focusing on internal FamilySearch direct volunteers and making it more difficult for "outsiders" to participate in editing the content.
As the number of articles in the Research Wiki approaches 83,000 perhaps it is time to make a renewed effort to include a larger volunteer community. Presently all communication coming from the Research Wiki to potential editors is coming through an invited user only Yammer.com channel that is open mainly to Wiki Support Missionaries. I use to be included on the Wiki Support Team, but it appears that it is only open now to missionaries and I am now listed as a Former Wiki Council Member and Special Volunteer. Subsequently, the number of active users has dropped from around an average of over 800 to a current number of 356. If you subtract the number of support missionaries, then this number is very small indeed. This is for a website that has had over 712 million views.
If FamilySearch has made a decision to internalize the editing of the Research Wiki, perhaps they should let potential editors know that. If not, then I suggest that the Research Wiki get back to a more open and collaborative format.