User:LuccagenesEdit This Page

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My name is Jim and I was born, raised, and retired in Minnesota, USA

Paternal grandparents were from the province of Lucca, Italy hence the username Luccagenes. To be specific my grandfather was from San Filippo, Lucca, Lucca, Italy which is just outside the walled city of Lucca, Lucca, Lucca, Italy. My grandmother is from Coselli, Capannori, Lucca, Italy which is a few miles south of the city of Lucca, Italy.

United States flag.png This user lives in the United States.
Flag of Italy.png This user is of Italian ancestry.
Flag of Denmark.png This user is of Danish ancestry.
Animation6.gif This user is of Swiss ancestry.
Flag of England.png This user is of English ancestry.

I can be contacted via the talk page

(until I can figure out another way)

Page Size = 21,137


Why am I here?

(from a novice's point of view)

My involvement here started with a GetSatisfaction suggestion [about Family Tree but this could also be useful for the wiki] which obviously no one would want to pursue (other than in discussion) so I guess it is up to the one that made the suggestion to see if it could possibly work (for reference see I am really out of my depth here and just trying to figure out how to use this wiki, all the while hoping my inexperience, in and of itself, is not going to be the cause of the downfall of this idea (if it won’t work that’s fine, just so it gets a fair shake).

Frustration in finding “help” on specific topics while using Family Tree and listening to others finding similar difficulties has led to the idea that a “centralized” place to find all types of learning aids might be a benefit to beginners and training experts alike. The bigger issue was that this “Help Central” would have to be accessible while one is in the middle of research or data entry and the answers had to be found quickly without significantly disrupting one’s current activities.  Now, I realize that a “help central” is far from unique on the web but they are usually related to a small scope (e.g., a directory for a town) and provide various website links.  I was looking for something more in that it had to have a specific front-end objective (easy navigation for the inexperienced  and quick infallible access; “click to find”).  Another specific back-end objective that was also desired was that the results themselves (the answers) had to be universally and directly accessible by sources inside the Help Central and to the outside world (possibly software programs).  During all this the results had to be accessible for updating as necessary (like in wiki).  Discussions led to the possibility of using this wiki (as well as the pros and cons of doing so); so anyway here we are. 

Project development: Daily progress reports:

Archive01: March 5th to April 4th

The daily progress reports section from March 5th to April 4th 2014 has been moved to an archive page.

May 3, 2014

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I have not forgotten about my original project. Just finished my first wiki article, “Beginners First Step” which was easy to write but terrible to find the right links to use on the page (the beginners category needs a little reorganization).

Anyway, have the keyword list compiled (600+) and I’m figuring out how to group them (less pages needed, ~100 pages). I will have to make a test page with actual information to work out the bugs. I have also worked on the multi-lingual aspect for the keyword pages using “uncreated” template links that will be activated as different languages are added. By pre-making the link on the keyword page the template can be created by clicking on the links as needed but they will automatically be linked back to the correct spot.

Of concern is keeping up with new feature additions to Family Tree but will ignore this for now as they can be added later. Another concern is watching what the state of the art is for the help capabilities being implemented by FamilySearch itself (involving “help”). Do not want to create a redundant system if it is of little or no value. I am assuming they are at least one year away (probably more) as it was stated in a GetSatisfaction discussion in early March by an employee that their option was only in the planning stages.
Luccagenes 07:25, 3 May 2014 (UTC)

July 15, 2014

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I have again gotten sidetracked off my original project and onto other projects such as helping Linda with her assignment to redesign the Wiki Support introduction pages. We came up with a nice design using a “bullet hub” image (using an image map) wherein the bullets link to various subject articles and one of the bullets leads to another hub image where all the wiki support function links could be found. Linda worked on The Support Center (tool box) aspects while I worked on the Fundamentals page. In the process we started the EasyAccesSeries of articles to see how it would be accepted and if other areas could benefit from such a design. For my part several tables were prepared while updating the different pages that were linked to from the bullet hub (created tables for the policies page, the guidelines page, condensed the links on an article about governance, and made a listing of ‘volunteer opportunities” for the help wanted page). The opportunities list was also reformated for the current "narrow" page format per Caleb's request and it was ultimately made into a template for easier installation and editing (update:sentence added 20140725).  In the process, also made several images that were added to these pages to update the style. Giuseppe liked Linda’s redesigns and our work went “live” on 5th June.

Also, got caught up in the “future” page designs frenzy (for the new MediaWiki version) and I created 4 interlinked mock up pages of the mainpage and the next 3 second level pages while trying to achieve the "look and feel" of the FamilySearch webpage designs. Passed these suggested pages onto Giuseppe and Caleb but they decided to go with the page redesigns they had already started with. I have decided to continue my effort in my sandbox (in MyWikiWorld) by making the pages fully functional by completing the next level of page links. In the process, came up with an interesting way to “liven up” the Community page (Get Involved page) by using a “poor man’s JavaScript” to change parts of page every day, advertizing news and project status, by using templates and parser functions. In addition to the “advertizing boxes” and the associated template overlays (14 templates), the other pages that have resulted are so far are: Navigation Basics, a table addition to the Genealogical Terms Page, and a “next level” page those “new to genealogy”. Will continue to work on the “New to the Wiki” hub and the “Get involved” (Community Center) hub until they are fully developed and any necessary pages have been created. Oh, somewhere in the middle of all this I was given reviewer and moderator rights so I could upload my own images and my edits could be bypassed during patrolling.

Currently testing a “World Locations” table (temporary location) wherein a list of all countries and misc. locations will show a listing of all wiki links related to each location. This is slow and tedious and will take awhile to complete. This is just an extension of the world cities tables mentioned much earlier (made a mock up to show Giuseppe back on April 4th) but it did not interest anyone. Interestingly enough, just recently there have been discussing about “do not make pages for every city in a county” and then a comment was made about how would users know what city is in what state or county; duh. Anyway, eventually I may continue the locations theme with this table and then make something for MN cities (all 3500+ cities) although the countries table is getting quite large (byte-wise) so its completion as a single table may be impossible.

So anyway, original project is on the back burner but not forgotten. Interestingly, the FS site recently upgraded their help section and I was worried that maybe they had accomplished the same thing. But no, they are apparently going in a direction which is not like my idea although they appear to be offering a local help button now on the Family Tree pages (as was suggested). So while there are no plans to completely abandon the original project at this point, it has just been put on lower priority as it was probably an insane idea in the first place. In contrast to my anticipated (novice) view of the wiki, I have to rethink the idea that the community would help maintain such a system (much less that it would help to create it in the first place). So far I have seen little if any coordinated effort where the general population (more than a few people) could be focused on achieving a single task. The only exception was a significant effort to reduce the uncategorized files but that effort was focused within the support group itself which consists of missionaries whose “job” (or vocation) it is to maintain the wiki. The reality is that getting the general public to participate in this original project is unlikely at best and is probably impossible. The only other alternative is to do it myself which could take a year or more, therefore the question is, is it worth it (especially in the light of how easily the wiki can become outdated versus the rapid changes to the Family Tree software in recent months; Family Tree was also having difficulty keeping their own user’s guide pdf updated).

In reference to the outdated issues, with the push to get the community “involved” I found it ironic that the list of Wiki Projects and the Community News page were severely outdated. Of the 16 wiki projects listed, 13 were last worked on from 1 to almost 5 years ago based on their history pages (which is not immediately evident when looking at the article itself) but they are being referred to as “current” projects. The community news page was also seldom used with the last update being almost a year ago. I reported this latter issue and I thought it was to be updated, but nothing to date. It appears to be common knowledge that there are issues with outdated pages. As a side note, the statistics page lists 150,000+ registered uses but only 300+ active users (last 30 days) which is about 0.2 percent of the users so it is easy to see how pages can get overlooked without some mechanism to highlight the history dates. There has to be a way to monitor and update critical pages (possibly a small, unobtrusive icon to put on critical pages, instead of the maintenance template used to manually designate an outdated page). Possibly by using a template where one can add a parser function for a time limit. For example, this Community News page has had no activity in the last week, or that Wiki Project has been idol for over a month. Use a template input value to set the various time limits. Interesting idea, will have to try something like this and play with it some more.

I also made a couple bullet hub images for Wilma (per Caleb’s suggestion). I told her the first draft was just a conversation starter as I had no idea of what she wanted. Wilma sent back some info (suggestions) so I made another draft to send her. She appreciated it but indicated she would have her people take it from there so I have no further involvement in this.

At Linda’s suggestion I also looked at a question posted by Giuseppe on Yammer about how the wiki’s pages are distributed by topics. Initially Giuseppe mentioned something about missing pages (getting the page totals to equal the 152,000 listed pages in the statistics page). Giuseppe had posted a list of category results for the wiki and out of curiosity I wanted to see if I could put it into a sortable spreadsheet format using delimiters (a learning process for me). The result was good so I sent it back to Giuseppe but he asked if I could put it into a Google sheets format so naturally I had to learn the Google spreadsheets next. This was also posted on Yammer with a request that others help to make it searchable by “topic” (a fairly easy job) but have gotten no takers (another example of getting the community to help achieve a common goal as referenced with my original project). I also did a searchbox summary of all the pages (using Boolean search functions) and came up with a total number of pages per namespace (every namespace plus redirects, deleted pages, etc) that was pretty close to the mark of 150,000 articles. Granted that that was not what Giuseppe was looking for, curiosity on my part, but I later determined that the search box function could also give him the topic distributions he and Danielle were looking for. I posted some examples of my results on Yammer but I took it no farther as there seemed little interest by this time (although Giuseppe did give it thumbs up).

Just recently I rewrote the Help: Image map page after the previous image map editor was shut down and was no longer available on the Internet. The initial conclusion was that we would have to wait for the higher ups and engineers to figure out what to do about it but that seemed illogical to me (since this was an external link to the wiki and in no way should it affect the wiki itself). I asked Warren at the July 10th tech meeting and he said there was no problem finding another external link. I tested and wrote the instructions for the new editor and upgraded the existing Image map page to reflect the different editor (posted its availability on Yammer).

So that is the summary of the last two months (I should really do this more often so it is not so long). PS, also had some medical issues during this time frame. I will have to also check out "archiving" as this page is getting quite long. Forgot to sign name earlier: Luccagenes 21:03, 15 July 2014 (UTC)

July 22, 2014

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Just finished making a template called Template:Auto-outdated with the objective of finding a way to monitor time sensitive articles like Community News or WikiProject status. A secondary objective is to use it on any (or all pages) with set points anywhere from 1 to 730 days. This way, over the course of two years every tagged page would at least be reviewed occasionally. The template has a time trigger which will install a category to the page, Category:Auto-outdated, where the outdated article (based on a typical trigger of 1-365 days from the last revision) can be reviewed and updated. Besides a technical issue of controlling the input for parameter one (limit numbers <=0), the other issue involves the universal acceptance of using this template and actually performing the monitoring. It potentially could become a problem wherein the listing is ignored until it becomes a huge task to reduce the size (like what happened with the uncategorized files recently).

The template and the category have been created and the template has been installed on a few pages so the next step is to see how well the template triggers (initial results had the 4 tagged pages show up in the category after the 1 day trigger expired).

This has been an attempt to address the outdated aspects of the wiki articles which currently relies on someone to add a template (someone knowledgeable, thorough, and patient enough to actually add the “outdated” template to the page in question) and then assuming that support will find the time to address the issue. I am getting the impression that this idea will be viewed by support as something that will make their jobs bigger rather than as an aid to getting the job done more thoroughly (they might be right as it will result in another category they would have to watch). Again this falls back on the fundamental problem of how to get a coordinated and consistent long term effort from the general community and the support personnel with a high turnover rate. Support has enough priority issues to deal with and I have yet to see enough general population involvement to be effective. I am not even sure there is a general population out there to draw from as was indicated when looking over some Wikipedia stats yesterday. It appears that only 0.2 percent of the registered users actually contribute on a regular basis (this wiki has similar results) and this has be seeing diminishing returns over recent years. Therefore, other than monitoring this system to see how it performs there will be limited further involvement and there may never be an answer to totally fixing the issue of outdated information and inoperative or misdirected links (other than applying brute force over a finite amount of time by support; as was recently done with the uncategorized files). Luccagenes 23:57, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

July 25, 2014

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I have successfully added the parser functions and calculations to extend the timer out the extra year (to 730 days). It was relatively easy but each additional year will require a new option be added to the "Switch" function so I am stopping at a two year interval (the most practical range anyway). Wikipedia functions like "AgeParse" may or may not be available with the new version and it would eliminate these issue by calculating the time between any two dates. Using the "1970" based calculation will not work as the parser functions cannot store a variable (would require Javascript).

I have also successfully added the subcategory option wherein the outdated page name can be put into one or two additional (specified) category pages to filter the results to certain groups or individuals. These designations can be made by using parameters 2 and 3 for the template. There are some technical issues that have to be addressed (limiting the parameter one values to numbers greater than zero) and the unusual glitch that was uncovered (see the following note). I have posted a request for assistance from Steve Cottrell but he appears to be "off-line" for the last couple months so I will have to wait and see if he responds (if not I will ask Warren at the next Technical meeting but Steve is the template expert).

Note posted on Steve Cottrell's talk page: Steve, I also found something unusual (a glitch) with the operation of this template although some of it may be a common occurrence with the server. When the timer expires, the display will change (from OKAY to Expired) and the category is added to the bottom of the page (after about a 1 hour delay which appears to be normal and consistent). The concern is that the page that now has the “auto-outdated” category on it is not being added to the actual category page, Category:Auto-outdated, even a whole day later (have tried several means to refresh the page). The only way to get it to display correctly is to edit and save the template itself at which point any and all expired pages are instantly posted on the category page. Afterwards, when a particular article page is then re-saved (the timer being reset) that page will be automatically and instantly removed from the category page as it should (this problem only occurs in the other direction).
Luccagenes 14:04, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Last revision date/time:
Test place for transclusion other than template page (added subst inside call name REVISIONTIMESTAMP (lastrevision)


Last revision date/time:
Test place for transclusion other than template page (added subst inside call name REVISIONTIMESTAMP (lastrevision1)


Last revision for this USER page: 20140725152340  Luccagenes

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