Talk:How to Guess Where to StartEdit This Page

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Revision as of 23:39, 20 December 2011 by DiltsGD (Talk | contribs)

Wrong word used

This question or concern is currently unresolved.
Requesting additional contributor input before rewording
I greatly deplore the use of the word 'guess' in these articles. A guess, as my dictionary says, is "a judgment or opinion without sufficient evidence or grounds" and it has nothing whatever to do with good genealogical research. Some other word should be found. AnthonyJCamp 18:25, 9 September 2011 (UTC).
I agree with Anthony. A "guess" to me suggests a complete stab in the dark, while the articles in the very least are talking about "educated guesses" or even working out a prediction for a piece of missing information based on the information already found. So would these articles better reflect the skill needed if renamed?
  • How to Decide Where to Start
    • Predict a spelling variation for every name on that family group
    • Predict a place for every event on that family group
    • Predict a date for every event on that family group
    • Predict the easiest (and hardest) person and event to research on that family group
    • Predict the best record types to use for finding information about any person’s event on that family group
This is just a suggestion, I'd be interested to hearing other alternatives or even why "Guess" is the best term to use. --Steve (talk| contribs) 14:36, 10 September 2011 (UTC)
How do we reach the inexperienced, the tentatively interested? Whatever words are used need to be inviting and give confidence to increase skills. I agree that an educated guess is probably better than just guessing.AdkinsWH 20:29, 20 December 2011 (UTC)
Another dictionary definition says guess means "to arrive at a correct conclusion." Reading the articles makes it clear that the "correct conclusion" sense of the word is the way it is used in this series. My reason for using the term "guess" was to teach that a good researcher will use what is already known as the basis for more informed conclusions, but implying luck will sometimes play a part as well. The importance of making informed guesses oozes from every pore of the articles--it is the theme of each. To change the titles would spoil the whole point of the series.
Moreover, there is no better phrase for the point I'm trying to make. The alternatives are much too stuffy and even less elegant than "guess." Sorry, "predict" sounds too much like foretelling the future to me. Look at:
  • How to hypothesize where to start
  • How to make an educated guess about where to start
  • How to deduce where to start
  • speculate
  • suppose
  • estimate
  • surmise
  • infer
The word "hypothesize" is slightly more precise than "guess," but this set of articles is for rank beginners, not scientists. Please do not spoil the whole purpose of these articles by changing the wording of the titles and pretending guess cannot mean "correct conclusion" or pretending that chance has no role in genealogy. Substituting a different word for guess throughout these articles would ruin them. If you cannot abide the way I have used the word "guess" in these articles, please write your own better articles using the words of your choice. DiltsGD 23:25, 20 December 2011 (UTC)