- Changes and mistakes in the program in general.
- People using the program to "harvest" names to take to the Temple for ordinance work.
- Stake and Ward leaders challenging members to "take a name to the Temple" within a relatively short time period, expecting that they can somehow manufacture the name from the Family Tree program.
- Frustration with the inability to merge obvious duplicated individuals in the program.
- Improperly combined individuals that cannot be separated and where data has been lost and an inaccurate pedigree line established that cannot be changed.
- Individual personal data that cannot be changed, such as a legal change of name by an individual member.
In my opinion, none of these issues involve the program, per se. They are all issues with the data contained in the program.
Much of the frustration over changes made to the data of the program comes from the fact that the people making the changes either are not identified and have no contact information or that they are making the changes arbitrarily without any sources or explanations. It seems to me that both of these issues can be resolved by adjustments to the program itself. It is very unlikely, in the near future, that inexperienced contributors to the Family Tree will suddenly realize the need to add sources to any changes they make to the data. It is almost always the case that the person making such changes without sources is entirely unknown to the person making the complaint. It is not very pleasant to see someone change the information about your own mother or father or grandparents who you do not know and who refuses to respond to inquiries. This is especially true if the information added or substituted is arbitrary and completely inaccurate. Many of the people I talk to are abandoning the Family Tree program because of these reasons.
The issue of harvesting names and challenges to "take names to the Temple" are two sides of the same issue. FamilySearch.org's Family Tree program is not a source for researching about your family. It is a report of what has already been researched. You cannot realistically plumb a dry well. There is an invalid assumption that people are somehow adding names to the program without doing or reserving the Temple ordinances. It is entirely possible that this is true, but this not something that you can count on happening. Those who are hunting "green arrows" in the program are usually searching well beyond any family members they personally know or are even acquainted with. How can this be justified as doing family history?
Leaders who challenge their members to "take a name to the Temple" are working from the premise that the process of obtaining names for Temple work is easy and simple. This is not the case for most members. There are no names in Family Tree just sitting there to take to the Temple. Finding any additional ancestors may involve significant work with years of effort. In almost all the cases I have heard about these challenges, I find that there is no program in place to teach or support the members in the challenged activity. They are left to their own devices to try an find a way to "get a name." In many cases, local Ward family history consultants are ignored or not included in the "challenge." They find out about the challenge when the challenge is made. I have fielded comments about two of these challenges in the last week. I wonder how many of the Stake and Ward leaders making such challenges have actually done any genealogical research themselves? In many cases, the members turn to mining names from Family Tree to respond to the challenges.
The issues with merging, improperly combined individuals and data that cannot be changed, all relate to the status of the Family Tree program's relationship to the old New.FamilySearch.org database. As long as the two programs as still connected, these issues will remain. This is simply a case of waiting for the changes to take place. Patience is advised.
Some of these questions, such as the ones involving challenges to take a name to the Temple, involve complex and frustrating issues. Most of these types of problems can be solved by following the handbooks and mentoring people rather than challenging them.