FamilySearch Wiki:Feedback

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A call for Feedback!


We need your feedback! We are eager to hear input and feedback from you because the FamilySearch Research Wiki is a community driven, community maintained site. Our goal is to make the FamilySearch Research Wiki a friendly, welcoming place that is easy to use and make contributions to, for both experts and beginners alike. Please leave your comments regarding any suggestions, solutions, or any of the following issues you may have encountered.

We want to hear about the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Governance Council needs your feedback, ideas, and suggestions! With a lot of our effort currently focused on format and standardization, we need you feedback and ideas to answer the questions: What's working? What's not working? How can we improve?

While we cannot promise to address every issue immediately or implement all solutions and ideas posted, your voice will be heard and all of them will be reviewed by the governance council."


What's working?


There is nothing like Familysearch's Family History Research Wiki. It is an excellent resource for both novice and veteran genealogists to identify the online and offline resources that can help them add names and stories to their family tree. If researchers find a shortcut or an inexpensive alternative to what is currently listed, they can change it. In a rapidly changing online environment, having a wiki that anyone can update and modify is a very effective way of staying relevant. It also empowers local experts to ensure accurate and reliable sources are mentioned and provide some tricks and tips to those who are new to researching that area.

What's not working?


How can we improve?


1. The bright red warning "If you are unable to edit the wiki after logging in, you will need to request editing rights using this form. You will be notified when editing rights are granted" is ugly. Can you change it to black?

  • Answer: We really enjoy the help our contributors offer us and so we want to make sure people can easily see the notice for how they can get involved.

This new policy also seems to contradict the pages that invite participation. Why not scrap the lockdown policy and change that statement to something like

"Help us fight vandalism. If you see a page that is inappropriate click here" 
  • Although your suggestion above would be nice, the spamming attacks that caused us to change this policy were happening very quickly and causing enough trouble that a simple warning like the one you are suggesting would not work in this situation.

At the very least perhaps give church members the benefit of the doubt. I don't know the extent of the problem, just giving my perspective.

  • Answer: This is not a trust issue. It is an issue of setting up a structure that will allow us to continue to leverage the skills and talents of the community while protecting the security and integrity of the content.
Reply: OK, fair enough.
Help-content.png Questions?
Visit the Get Help to receive help with contributing to the Wiki.

2. The following life preserver link is found throughout the wiki --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------->

When a new editor clicks on this, they are taken to a very generic FamilySearch help page (and there is no box there for Wiki-help). I would think a solution to this would be to add a wiki box on that page,
or better yet change the help page to this support page instead. As someone with experience with Wikipedia I can easily code and tell you these things. Most new comers trying to give feedback would probably just give up and disappear.

3. The font is freakishly small on this site. One of the few site that require me to hit "ctrl" and "+". Not very friendly for the visually impaired. This is especially true for superscripts

  • and for bullet points, which are fairly common. Superscripts within a bullet are next to impossible to read
  • Answer: The FamilySearch Wiki is is powered by Media Wiki, the same wiki software that is used by Wikipedia. When we launched the newest version of the wiki we removed a lot of custom coding that was causing all kinds of bugs in the wiki and went back to the same out of the box settings the wikipedia has so that we would be better able to avoid many of the bugs we faced previously as we move forward. We use the same font-size as Wikipedia.
    • Reply:I usually use the Firefox browser. Today I checked using Chrome and Internet Explorer. Unlike Firefox, which has Wikipedia in a bigger font, the other 2 are the same size, as you indicated. So this must be a browser issue I guess.

4. New user on Wikipedia usually get a welcome/orientation message on their talk page when they first set up an account. This would be a good thing.

  • Answer: We 100% agree. Currently we do have missionaries and volunteers who have taken on the responsibility of sending welcome emails and messages on new contributor's talk pages.
    • Reply:Great! I think a little bit of "wiki-love" goes a long way.

5. I've noticed a there's a push for creating more articles, rather than improve existing articles. I don't think FS wiki has the resources and volunteers like Wikipedia to maintain quality. More pages = more maintenance. Going for quantity over quality will make this look like Cyndi's list (an ugly directory of resources) rather than an online encyclopedia and how to guide for genealogy. It may already be too late ...

  • Answer: Quality is extremely important. Within the wiki we believe one component of a good wiki page is a complete wiki page. Currently across many areas of the wiki we have pages that have missing sections or only have small amounts of content. We also understand that there may be some missing pages that are low hanging fruit for people to create and add value. When we say we are interested in creating and improving articles that is what we mean.
    • Reply:I would hate for it to move from an encyclopedia to a list that requires dozens of mouse clicks through fluff to find what you're actually looking for. Wikipedia does have lists (which are separate from articles). A clearly defined, well communicated strategy may be wise. For example, should all major cities have a page? How should their information be different from the state or province in which they reside?

6. It would also be good to have a different introduction for new editors who have experience in editing on Wikipedia. Maybe a special page to tell them how this Wiki is similar to Wikipedia and how it is different.

7. Templates should be made for international and national resources that are repeated on numerous pages. For example a template for Findagrave.com could say the exact same thing on hundreds of cemetery pages. This provides consistency and accuracy as well as easy maintenance and updating. Similarly for each USA census. This could also be done for topic introductions (i.e. "cemetery records usually contain... They are useful for ..." can be templated).

8. Article quality ratings - Wikipedia has articles labeled as "good articles" and "featured articles". These act as a gold standard to which others can rise to. This might be something to consider using here.

  • Answer: there are many features that would be very beneficial to have. We have VERY limited engineering resources so some of these feature/ functionality requests may take a backseat to more pressing issues... ex. When you have a bucket of water you can use to water the plants or put out the fire in your living room chances are the living room fire will take priority.
    • Reply: OK maybe scrap the article rating, but I would like to see a sample of a dozen pages that are considered ideal, that all new editors should be exposed to. To see some ideal examples and tell editors, try to work toward this in your articles, helps to create a clear vision and provide a more consistent product. I honestly think editors may be unsure what the ideal looks like, and as a result may unintentionally be doing more harm than good.

9. Respond more promptly to feedback. Pages such as this should be on the administration's watch-list. It's been over a month since I posted this. I placed tags and pings that most new editors could not do. Even a brief acknowledgement would be better than nothing. If another user wanted to leave feedback, it would be difficult to do so.

  • Answer: For more prompt responses we encourage people to join our Yammer community where interactions are faster paced and the platform allows us to have more collaborative and fluid conversations.



    • Reply:Hmmm. Perhaps the Yammer thing should be mentioned at the top of this page, a month is a long time to wait for a reply. Maybe the Yammer should also be mentioned instead of that life preserver box that leads to nowhere. I would think very high priority would be to help new and existing users quickly get orientated and get them help quickly when needed. I think it would also be helpful to have a system in place to ID experienced Wikipedians and perhaps assign them tasks that would take advantage of their skill set.

10. On the guiding principles page it mentions that the purpose of the wiki is to "teach the world how to do genealogy research". This general purpose is not stated in other editor help areas, such as here or here. I would think that this message about teaching would be seen everywhere, but it is rarely mentioned. I would humbly suggest that the message "the purpose of this Wiki is to teach the world how to do genealogy" should be stated often. If it is not stated frequently, the wiki runs into the risk of becoming a repository of links and resources with little explanation regarding strategy, hints, details, or things to consider when accessing the items on the list. Like Cyndi's list, I think there is a very limited usefulness for these lists with no explanation.

Just a few of my initial impressions. I hope to use my Wikipedia experience to help make this site better. I hope this feedback is useful. Asparagus (talk) 16:02, 28 November 2016 (UTC)

User:Caleblove1 Pinging the last contributor (Wikipedia -style). Asparagus (talk) 02:23, 2 December 2016 (UTC)

This question or concern is currently unresolved.

This page is watched. I sent a message to the Wiki managers right after your first comment. I will resend and see if we can get your comments answered.
Brepouille/Wiki Support Team (talk) 17:04, 1 January 2017 (UTC)

    • Reply: User:Brepouille Thanks Beverly, I inserted my responses above. Please ping me (as I have done here) or leave a message on my talk page when you need to connect with me again. I check this wiki about once every 2 weeks.Asparagus (talk) 23:05, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

These items listed above are first impressions, that is, impressions from someone who has experience in Wikipedia and sees some issues which may or may not need addressing. Also, if you think I can be useful in specific areas of the wiki, I would be happy to take on assignments as you feel appropriate. Asparagus (talk) 20:26, 5 February 2017 (UTC)

Decision Reached