Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Newest (BIG) Mistake

When I said that this would be and "occasional" blog, I didn't expect that spring pollen plus 2 infections would keep me away from writing for a month!

When I'm under the weather like that, I try to keep going with activities which won't lead me to make mistakes. I'd heard about WikiTree, so I decided to give it a try. This was just transferring my information and offering it to the public, wasn't it? I wouldn't make any real mistakes here.

Boy, was I wrong! WikiTree advises that a new member should start small, so I "trimmed" my GEDCOM and uploaded it. Somehow I managed to upload 3027 individuals — NOT a small amount. (This is only the second GEDCOM I've requested from my software and the first one where I saw the results of the upload.) Data went into the wrong fields!

OK, I could have anticipated this, and it's no big deal. But it does mean that every entry should be edited. If I edit 10 individuals a day, it will take a year to fix this. (Well, 10 entries from the Watchlist will actually be more than 10 individuals since I'm doing husband and wife pairs at the same time; but even if I cut this down to 6 months, that's LOTS of work.)

So, this is all part of the learning process — and I love to learn; so what is my problem? I made what I consider to be a truly BIG mistake, one that goes against my personal principles. In the past, I have never posted public information about family members unless I had AT LEAST supported the information with a census entry or two. You KNOW that in only 2-years of research, I do not begin to have documentation on 3000 names.

This makes editing my WikiTree entries imperative. I must do it as fast as I can. I must find ways to show which data is sustained by research and which is (mostly) hearsay. I must remove some very odd dates I had used in my software as codes to me. (I had forgotten that these codes would become part of the GEDCOM and therefore be thrust upon an uncomprehending world.)

I have put BAD data out for public view! (And I dislike it when folk do that.) I must find ways to warn other users of WikiTree that much of this data is unsupported.

Luckily, WikiTree (as its name proclaims) is a wiki area. People are invited to offer corrections, and I believe most users expect some errors in wiki-data. Still, I have given me a LARGE HEADACHE to contend with.

PS: While I was looking at my WikiTree entries in order to be correct in my reporting, I noticed that each entry is accompanied by a public bulletin board area. So I stopped blogging long enough to add a caution to each individual I have edited today, as well as to my personal entry. I find that I will have completed 30 individuals today. At this rate, I'll catch up in 100 days (3 months).

Here's to facing our frustrations.
Frustrated Sue