The FamilySearch.org Family Tree is the solution, not the problem.
Genealogists would probably not recognize that they had a borderline personality disorder in thinking that they were always right, but they often act like everything in their family tree is correct and everyone else is wrong. Many of the users of the FamilySearch.org Family Tree have "inherited" their genealogy from a long line of ancestors and relatives. In my case, there were one or two active genealogists and the rest comes from surname books written about the descendants of a selected number of my ancestors. With only a few exceptions, these books are devoid of references to any original source records.
One of my original major motivations for becoming involved in genealogy/family history was finding out through some superficial research that much of what had been represented to me as "completed" and accurate was neither complete nor accurate. Because the Family Tree incorporates much of that early genealogy, there are some huge gaps and a lot of inaccurate entries. No one should assume that the information that was used to create the Family Tree originally was either accurate or complete.
However, the Family Tree has now been in existence for a number of years and since its inception sources have been added and much of the information that was inaccurate or incomplete has been corrected and completed. A current user of the Family Tree may find that many of the entries have substantial support from cited sources. Now we come to the problem. Many of the users of the Family Tree ignore both the sources and the documents attached as Memories. There should be a warning message that says, "Do not add any information or make any changes before examining all of the sources and all of the Memories." This simple expedient would probably save a lot of the grief and pain caused by unsupported changes.
Even though it is highly unlikely that any one person's compilation of their family history is completely accurate, it is very likely that over time the combined efforts of a lot of different people will devolve into a very accurate family tree.
Here is an example from one the comments to my blog posts of the issues involved in this basic aspect of the Family Tree.
A couple of weeks ago I helped someone in our family history center who was pretty new to family history. The other consultant who was there started off by telling her that she needed to get a private tree on Ancestry to protect her information from all the people who were going to mess up her tree on Family Search. At least two of the other consultants seem to always start by showing patrons how to set up a tree on Ancestry for the same reason. I fully support this practice, but I don't know that it's the best idea to start by telling people that someone's going to mess up all their work on Family Search. I think it's more motivating to start by helping them have heart-turning experiences such as reserving temple names or finding interesting records about their ancestors.Now, this comment brings up a number of different issues, but the main one is a distrust of the Family Tree's accuracy and the need to "protect" our own, impliedly accurate, information. Let's face it. Someone who is just starting out doing genealogical research is extremely unlikely to have accurate information about their ancestors past their own parents and many have inaccurate information about their parents. So whose accuracy are they trying to preserve? Rather than assuming that what we already know is accurate, we should be more concerned with supporting any conclusions we might make by finding and attaching supporting documents.
This comment also addresses a fear that what is put into the Family Tree will somehow be "lost" due to "changes" made by others. This particular viewpoint is endemic to a certain type of Family Tree user. It is an irrational fear of loss of data when they are not even sure what they have in their own files is correct.
This brings up another major issue; the person who has a massive amount of data, usually at least partially inherited, that goes all the way "back to Adam." I have talked to people who have tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of "names" in their files and they are absolutely convinced that every connection is correct. This group of people also include people who are involved in what is known as a "private extraction" program where they are entering everyone into their family tree program who has the same surname or everyone in a certain geographic area. I once talked to a person who worked in a Family History Center who regularly told younger patrons that they could enter anyone in an Engish county with their same surname into their family tree because they were all related. I will eventually get to the issue of the private extraction efforts, but my point here is that there are other insidious genealogical practices out there that are the root cause of many of the problems we see today especially when these people try to dump all of their "work" into the Family Tree.
I am going to use a hypothetical situation to illustrate what I think of these problems. Let's suppose that I am going to plant a garden. I look at a few photos of gardens and decide I want to plant some vegetables such as peas, corn, carrots, etc. So I go buy some seeds from the nearest hardware store and throw them out on the ground in my backyard and expect them to grow. Oh, I find out I need to water my garden (I am assuming I live in Mesa or Provo). So I water my seeds. Will I get a garden? Yes, because I am watering it, I will get a garden of weeds. In Mesa, I would get a lot of Bermuda grass. What did I do wrong? Isn't gardening fun and enjoyable? Isn't it a popular "hobby?"
If you have ever grown a productive garden, what do you think is missing from this example? The part where we learn about how to grow a garden? The part where you pull weeds etc? The part about work?
Now, do you suppose that you can have a beautiful family tree without spending the time to prepare, work and weed? If you watch a garden grow, you are aware that there are changes every day. Do we stop gardening because there are changes? I guess some people stop gardening because they hate pulling weeds. But if you really want to garden, you pull weeds. If you really want to do your genealogy on the Family Tree, you need to prepare and learn about what you are trying to do and learn to correct other's errors. Start with The Family History Guide or thefhguide.com and learn about the process. Then don't get bothered by the changes and the corrections. They are the "weeds" that need to be pulled. But as you pull the weeds then you can see the beauty of the garden or Family Tree.
If you are growing a garden and there start to be weeds do you run off and plant a substitute garden so you can know what your garden is going to look like and preserve it? Not likely. I suggest the same attitude towards the Family Tree. By the way, there are backup and redundancies built into the Family Tree that makes correcting most of the issues simple and nearly automatic. Maybe you need to learn something before you give up the idea through listening to the naysayers of the genealogical community.
Stay tuned, I am just getting started on this series.
Here are the previous posts in this series
Part One: http://rejoiceandbeexceedingglad.blogspot.com/2018/05/a-survival-guide-to-familysearch-family.html
Part Two: http://rejoiceandbeexceedingglad.blogspot.com/2018/05/a-survival-guide-for-familysearch.html
Part Three: http://rejoiceandbeexceedingglad.blogspot.com/2018/05/a-survival-guide-for-familysearch_20.html