Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Friday, March 3, 2017

The FamilySearch Research Wiki

Back in 2008, I wrote my very first Genealogy's Star blog post about the Research Wiki. It was two paragraphs long and had no links or illustrations. That very first post had two comments and have garnered a total of 78 views. Over the years, I have spent a considerable amount of time writing and commenting about everything and anything having to do with genealogy and genealogical research. But it seems like I always came back to writing about the Research Wiki. In fact, I have mentioned it, at least, 653 times previously.

I started working on the Research Wiki shortly after it was first put online. The essence of a wiki-based program is the ability of many people to contribute and edit the content. However, since 2016 there has a serious issue with the Research Wiki. The problem is summarized in the Research Wiki article entitled, "Roles of Editor and Pagecreator."
When the FamilySearch Research Wiki began in 2008, anyone with a FamilySearch login could edit and make changes to the wiki. Because of spamming issues in 2016, the Wiki Governance Council decided to lock down editing to only known legitimate users with interests in furthering the development of the Research Wiki. Thus, in June 2016, new roles were created to the wiki called, “editor” and “page creator.” Unfortunately, because spammers had numerous Familysearch accounts, there was no way to differentiate a legitimate editor from a spammer until an edit was made. Therefore, it required that everyone who wished to edit the wiki to make an official request giving their username and stating which wiki page they wished to edit. This new process has solved our spamming issue. But it required longtime editors to request editing rights.
There are presently 85,027 articles in the Research Wiki. This number does not include the pages that deal with the maintenance, creation and adding help information to the program. Unfortunately, rather than dealing with the spam issue with a programming solution, locking up the Research Wiki has vastly decreased the number of people who are actively involved in its maintenance. There are a total of 215,259 pages in the Research Wiki. Presently, there are only 242 active users defined as users who have performed an action in the last 30 days.

Unfortunately, I have become extremely involved in a whole long list of projects and I have not spent as much time in the Research Wiki as its importance merits. But in using the Research Wiki, I am beginning to note that many of the links and pages are getting out-of-date. There is no other solution to this problem than to enlist the help of a greater number of users from the large online genealogy community.

I suggest that any of you who read this, start using the Research Wiki as a resource. In addition, as you come across broken links or material that needs to be updated, that you take the time to sign up as Editors and Pagecreators and get busy keeping the Research Wiki a useful and priceless resource.

1 comment:

  1. The research wiki has been my main resource for learning to do Danish genealogy. It's been so helpful. But it never occurred to me to make edits even though there are things I've thought should be added. I'll have to take a look.