The history of wikis begins in 1994, when Ward Cunningham gave the name "WikiWikiWeb" to the knowledge base, which ran on his company's website at c2.com, and the wiki software that powered it. The "wiki went public" in March 1995—the date used in anniversary celebrations of the wiki's origins. c2.com is thus the first true wiki, or a website with pages and links that can be easily edited via the browser, with a reliable version history for each page. He chose "WikiWikiWeb" as the name based on his memories of the "Wiki Wiki Shuttle" at Honolulu International Airport, and because "wiki" is the Hawaiian word for "quick".
Because of the collaborative structure of wikis and the fact that they are open to editing by almost anyone who registers, wikis came under fire for being inaccurate and unreliable. It was common for school teachers at all levels to ban their use for student research. Obviously, the academic attitude towards wikis has changed somewhat over the last 26 or so years but there is still a residual amount of blowback about the FamilySearch.org Family Tree.
The Family Tree is presently approximately the same structure as it was when it was introduced back in 2013. But the content and reliability of the Family Tree have changed and improved dramatically. Admittedly, there are still pockets of "revolving door" changes but overall, the Family Tree has matured into the most important way to determine the status of any level of genealogical or family history research. Each of the other large, online, genealogy database/family tree websites has hundreds of thousands or millions of individual family trees. The duplication of effort is staggering. Major and minor differences between the individual family trees are remarkably common. Arriving at a determination of the accuracy of any one family tree on any one of the programs is difficult and time-consuming. When you examine the FamilySearch.org Family Tree, you can immediately see if there is a consensus about the information based on well over a hundred years of genealogical research.
Now, what about those areas of the Family Tree where there is no consensus? Most, if not all of the antagonism against the Family Tree comes from focusing on the individual entries where original source records are scarce or lacking or where "family traditions" have become entrenched at the expense of accuracy. The reality of the Family Tree is that millions of original source records documenting the information available are being regularly added. Those individuals who dogmatically try to force their "tradition" on the entries in the Family Tree at the expense of the documentation are literally dying off. On the other hand, the number of people who do careful systematic research is increasing.
There is also a residual level of "anti-Mormon" sentiment about the Family Tree that surfaces from time to time. I get some extremely negative comments that usually condemn the Family Tree based on the beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the sponsor of FamilySearch. All I can really say about those who harbor hatred towards the Church and by association, the Family Tree, is that if you don't like it, ignore it and duplicate all your family research on your own.
What about the accuracy of the Family Tree? Let me give an example. Arthur Augustus Bryant LH5N-522 is presently listed with a death date of "from July 1934 to September 1934" in Blean, Kent, England. Interestingly, there are 31 source records attached to this person. A quick look at the attached source records reveals census records, parish registers, and civil registration records. A link to Findmypast.com quickly shows a record from the England & Wales Government Probate Death Index 1858-2019 giving his exact death date and place. I can then modify the information in the Family Tree and add the source citation in a matter of under five minutes. The entry now has another source and a correctly supported death date and place. This is happening tens of thousands of times a day to the information in the Family Tree.
It is now far past the time when the nearsighted and narrowly focused criticism of the Family Tree should stop. Rather than rail against the changes, how about spending the time and effort to document and collaborate those entries where there is little or no interest or dispute. Those entries, usually back in the 1700s or earlier that are the subject of so many changes will ultimately be resolved as the underlying entries become well documented.
By the way, you are welcome to add your comments and rant all you like. Those of us who watch the Family Tree every day and are constantly adding source and correcting the entries welcome your comments unless they are irrational or uncivil in which case they will never appear as comments on this blog.