Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Dealing With the Playground Bully on the FamilySearch Family Tree -- Part Three: The Heart of the Problem

This ongoing series is directed at a comment received by one of my online friends. For convenience, I have been repeating a copy of the comment.
So you are not related to my line in anyway? By the way are you working for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and Family Search? If not cease and desist! from working on my pedigrees. 
This is my problem with Family Search. That anyone who wants to can go in and delete or change anything that they choose to with out consent of the submitter. 
That file was submitted due to the change from family trees. it was easier than typing it in all over again as there are more than 13000 names on it.
to say that this is not a source is ludicrous. 
Please do not touch my line again. Go mess up someone else's pedigree. Am I angry? yes! You are not helping you are confusing and causing chaos and unnecessary work for those of us who have worked for over 40 years!
 Here is the link to the first posts.

In this particular series, I am going to ignore the issue of the user changes made to the Family Tree. If you are having a problem with the idea that someone else, even someone you consider to be stupid, can make changes to "your" portion of the Family Tree, then I suggest going back and reading some of the dozens of posts I have written on this subject. For example, "10 Important Things to Know About the FamilySearch Family Tree."

I am going to make a comment about the reference made by the Playground Bully (PB) above concerning the size of his/her GEDCOM file. First of all, the PB's reference to making the GEDCOM file available by adding it as a source is totally illusionary. No one but the PB has any access to that file. That is the main reason that the reference made as a "source" in the Family Tree is inappropriate. If the PB really wanted to use a GEDCOM file as a source then the file would have to be online and available for someone to view should they wish to do so. By the way, provides a way to share GEDCOM files through the Genealogies link located in the Search tab. Here is a screenshot of the bottom of the Genealogies page showing how you can begin the process.
For this additional reason, attaching or attempting to attach a GEDCOM file as a source to the Family Tree is inappropriate.

What about the size of the supposed GEDCOM file? Absolutely irrelevant. The size of the file and the number of names is meaningless. Some researchers can spend their entire lives doing research and find only a few hundred or fewer names about their family. Others, like me, could copy down hundreds of thousands of names in a matter of a few minutes. What is significant here is the attitude of the PB that somehow he/she now "owns" all those names and that anyone else should keep their hands off. My own experience leads me to believe that nearly all these old GEDCOM files are duplicated by what is already in the Family Tree. Forty years ago, the PB did not have access to all the information available today and it is likely that the work he/she did for the last forty years could be duplicated today in a matter of a few weeks or months if not much more quickly. What is more, all those names are probably duplicated on the Family Tree.

In addition, how am I or anyone else supposed to know what part of the Family Tree this PB owns?

The last comment made by the PB is the crucial one. Unfortunately for the PB, this comment was directed at a very capable and experienced researcher who could simply let this ire blow by and ignore it. But let's suppose this rancor had been directed at a novice. This could be a reason for someone to quit doing genealogy altogether. How sad that a beginner should be subjected to this kind of abuse. My online friends and I have a system to air these issues. We can vent our feelings and get over our indignation. But those without this support system are caught and may simply decide to quit doing genealogy at all.

When I was first starting out to practice law in Phoenix, Arizona. I submitted a pleading in a case that I thought followed the rules set down by the Court. Almost immediately, I got a phone call from another attorney who verbally threatened me and accused me of malpractice because I had submitted this pleading. I was very upset and I worried about this situation for a few days. Shortly after that first phone call, in the same week, I got another call about another case and interestingly, the attorney calling me used almost the same words and tactics used by the first caller. It suddenly clicked in my mind. I was being confronted by a bully and what is more two bullies that knew they were wrong but thought they could intimidate me. In the middle of the second call, I told the other attorney to drop dead and hung up.

Here, on the Family Tree, we should be more polite and kind than I was with those deserving attorneys. But there does come a time when we need to stand up to the bullies and maintain our principles. FamilySearch, on the other hand, needs to provide some protection for the novice. Many of us have been discussing the possibility of a system of arbitration. But lacking such a system, I can only suggest that when confronted with this kind of problem, you remember to turn the other cheek but not back down. If we back down to the bullies, the Family Tree will become ruled by those same bullies and the quality and accuracy of the Family Tree will suffer. Let's continue to maintain the integrity fo the Family Tree. The Family Tree is the solution, not the problem.

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