Genealogy Wise

The Genealogy & Family History Social Network

We have come up with a DRAFT version of the GenealogyWise Community Guidelines. Please read through them and let us know what you think.

GenealogyWise Community Guidelines
Welcome to GenealogyWise, a Web property that combines community interaction with tools and resources for people like you who are interested in researching and sharing their family history with others. At GenealogyWise, we want you to have many great experiences on this site as you make connections with others, share genealogy research, ask questions, provide advice, and so forth.

Community guidelines have been created based on feedback from GenealogyWise members. Please follow these guidelines to ensure that you and others will have an uplifting community experience. We reserve the right to modify these guidelines from time to time.

*Edit
At GenealogyWise we do not pre-screen the content before it is posted. If you find a violation to any of these policies, please click on the “Report this Issue” link at the bottom of every page. If five different GenealogyWise members report the incident, the content (comment, photo, blogs, links, videos, chats) will be removed from the site. Failure to abide by these standards may also result in termination of your account.

At GenealogyWise we do not pre-screen the content before it is posted. If you find content that appears to violate these policies, please click on the "Report this Issue" link located at the bottom of every page to notify us of the content that is in violation of the policy and provide additional details to help us explain how it violates the policy. If GenealogyWise determines the content violates its policies, the content (comment, photo, blogs, links, videos, chats) will be removed from the site. Repeated violation of these policies may result in termination of your account.
*End of edit

Unacceptable Content
-Do not contribute any content that is illegal, infringing, hateful, racist, obscene, pornographic, abusive, offensive, vulgar or otherwise violates any law or right of any third party.
-Do not submit comments that abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate, or intimidate.
-Do not post content on the site about yourself or others that you do not want made public. If you are posting content about others, please make sure you have their permission to do so. If you are an international user, you agree to comply with all local laws regarding online conduct and acceptable content.
-Do not create “Spamlike” content such as unwanted email, advertisements, or comments linking to affiliate programs, multi-level marketing schemes, or other means of advertising or methods of Spam.
-Do not submit content that is not applicable to the thread where you are posting.

Copyrighted Material
-Content that is copyright material (such as articles, news reports) should not be posted unless you have permission from the copyright owners. Copyright varies depending on the country.
-Look-ups from a public reference book or an out-of-copyright piece of content (public domain content) is acceptable. Asking someone to perform a look up for you from a paid subscription website (non-publically accessible content) is not acceptable and should not be posted.

Selling of Content
-Do not advertise or sell any product or service not related to genealogy.
-The selling of genealogy-related products and services is restricted to specific forums/groups designated for that purpose. As examples, a genealogy software company could create a group related to its product and a professional genealogy researcher can create a group related to his or her search services. However, the descriptions of these groups need to clearly identify that this group promotes a particular product or service.

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Allow me to be "rude and disrespectful" by "bashing" the draft guidelines.
Oh wait, this is a terryble thornty issue and I would not want to post my opinion without your explicit permisson to do so.
It is a draft, so I am allowed to, right?
In fact, you desire me to do so, right?
Ah yes, it says right there; it is "a DRAFT version" and "let us know what you think".
Okiedokie.

See, I could not help but notice this particular sentence:
"If five different GenealogyWise members report the incident, the content (comment, photo, blogs, links, videos, chats) will be removed from the site."

I understand that this sentence is the crucial one.
The rest does not matter at all, as this sentence overrules it all.

What it says there is that it really does not matter whether you violate any ostensible guidelines or not.
What it really says there is that so-called guidelines are irrelevant, just a smokescreen to distract from the real rules.
It is not about guidelines at all, but about power and popularity; if five members hate Terry enough to report his sarcasm, Terry's post is deleted.

You accidentally let it slip that you believe in equal rights for women?
As soon as five male suppremacists report your post, FamilyLink will delete your offensive post.
Bravely say it again, and FamilyLink may decide to terminate your account.

Forget about principes, moral values and the ostensible guidelines.
Don't bother actually judging any complaints on their merits. That would be a silly waste of good time.
GenealogyWise will have itself a kangaroo court instead because having dummy guidelines that let hate groups dominate the site is so much more fun.


By the way, have you seen Paul Allen's profile picture? It is offensive.
Look at that! I mean, do we have to look at that travesty?
He unbuttoned his shirt and doesn't wear a tie!
You can see part of his neck! How vulgar.

Surely you are as offended by this complete disrespect for decorum and good taste as I am?
Paul Allen is obviously an obscene tie-basher who abuses the GenealogyWise forum to promote naked necks!
We cannot allow this trampling of common decency on our fine and upstanding site.

Come on folks, let's end this pornographic public display undermining the delicate fabric of polite society.
Let's defend the ties that bind, and report this unacceptable flashing of unspeakable body flesh.
Do it quickly, before five of his goons try to pre-empt this just cause by reporting this comment...
First, bravo to you, Gena, for your hard work (posted at 12:37 am!) in developing this draft. Good guidelines are essential to ensuring that this site retains its original purpose.

Secondly, bravo to you, Tamura, for pointing out, so humorously, the potential failings of this draft.

There is great benefit in requiring the review and opinions of more than one person in making any decisions about postings which do not further the purpose of this site (as I understand it), i.e. open, honest, and fair discussion and exchange of information about genealogy and genealogy-related subjects. As Tamura points out, there is also great danger in allowing those decision-makers to be any arbitrary collection of individuals. I would suggest an alternative. . .

The site owners, of course, should always have final say, but in most cases, these posts will have been made to a group which has a group administrator. The policy could be that any member could report offensive, etc. posts to the administrator of the group who would then determine how to address the issue, i.e. if the post should be deleted. It is likely (I know, I'm an incurable optimist) that most of these types of issues will be manageable misunderstandings or mis-statements. However, if the group admin continues to have a problem with the offending poster, then they should be able to escalate the problem to the attention of the site owners who would then make a determination regarding the offending person's account. If the offending poster is purposely trying to do "damage" it is likely they will be doing so in more than one group, and the site owners will receive escalations from more than one group admin. In those cases, they will know that there is definitely a problem demanding their attention. This way the naturally social methods of dealing with misunderstanding, miscommunication and conflict between people would be allowed to occur and ultimately, if one member doesn't agree with a group admin's approach to that group, they are free to start another group, and/or all are free to leave a group if they so wish, and the site owners do not have to become the censor-police or involved in every difference of opinion. If the site owners would like more notice of potential problems, then reports of deletions for groups by group admins should cover that base. This would also limit the potential for the group admin being the source of the problem themselves.

Does this make sense to others? Or have I inadvertently created another gaping hole? My apologies for the awkwardness, but I'm typing as I think. :-)
I am not as eloquent as Tamura, but I totally agree with her reaction to the "If five different GenealogyWise members report the incident, the content ... will be removed from the site ..."

Looks very ill-considered to me and binds you to remove posts based on concerns (right or wrong) of a tiny percentage of concerned users, rather than on breaches of guidelines. As Tamura said "It is not about guidelines at all, but ... " [numbers]

I hope this is just a slip up which which will be quickly removed from an amended draft.
Much of this is already covered in the Terms of Service which are linked at the bottom of the page. I am somewhat concerned however that complex legal issues such as copyright should be determined by feedback from community members. Surely GW should be employing the services of a specialised copyright lawyer to ensure that all the appropriate issues are addressed? The issue of database rights should also be covered. Database rights for instance apply to compilation CDs published by family history societies who retain copyright in their compilations. GW members should not be advertising free look-ups from such publications. It should not be necessary to have to wait until five GW members report a copyright or database rights infringement before it is removed.

If you are going to have a system whereby the GW community determines what level of subjective content is permitted (eg, rudeness, personal attacks, etc) then I think the only way to decide the issue fairly is to adopt a system similar to that used on Wikipedia whereby you have trusted volunteer administrators elected by the community and working for the community. Complaints could then be addressed to these admins to deal with as they see fit. A system whereby a post is deleted after complaints from five members is wide open to manipulation.
You said "If five different GenealogyWise members report the incident, the content (comment, photo, blogs, links, videos, chats) will be removed from the site."

This is asking for problems. It would be very easy for any one member to find 4 others who would agree to complain about a person's posts or content. In other words, personal differences and disputes could easily come into play here!

You are opening a door here to allow people who dislike or disagree with others to leverage that into making sure the object of their dislike gets their content dumped. PLEASE DO NOT GO DOWN THIS ROAD! I have seen it happen before and then your site will become nothing more than a place for "those who rule" or those in the "in group" to reign supreme.

GenealogyWise needs to have their OWN group which judges the complaints after x number have been received from the community.

In other words it's not an automatic "DELETE" after 5 complaints. I'd prefer to see something reasonable, like 50 complaints or more. I mean let's take into account how many members GenealogyWise has! It's a bit frightening to think that 5 out of thousands wield such power

It should be 1) send an email to the offender and then 2) judgement by GenealogyWise panel (2 staff members, 3 staff - whatever number is feasible from your end).

I can see it now. I'll use myself as an example. I'll post an informative topic post - and I'll include a link back to one of my sites that happens to have more information on the topic. Because I have ADS (gasp!) on my site, someone will take offense and claim I am violating the GW terms. They'll get 4 others to agree and bam, my informative post that 300 members read and loved, will be deleted without warning.

If it happens a few times, I'll be gone. Now maybe that's not a big loss (although I kind of hope I am a valuable contributor!) but there are many of us who have ads, or are affiliates, or sell items on their sites. That does not detract from their expertise or knowledge and they should not be at the mercy of a lynch mob.
Suggestion:

Why are you not putting together an advisory committee of long-time experienced genealogists and genealogy bloggers? Choose people who are advanced researchers, who have had genealogy websites for several years, who are known to be active in the genealogy community.

Get their advice BEFORE you post these suggestions, draft proposals and.or contests that are hastily constructed, then revised and then cancelled.
Yes, I echo almost all previous comments and I am really wondering where Family Link's management is on this?

Likely FL & GW management & staff could learn from the experience of another very large & very experienced organization - Rootsweb. Have a look at the Rootsweb guidelines and at the role of list/group administrators there - similar position to GW's group creators.

And, I do think GW should be reading, if not participating, in the Group Admins Group discussions - there are a lot of practical issues that need addressing.

And, if GW has policy drafts, I think these should be sent out to all members, not posted here & there. Goodness, I have a hundred 'empty' messages from GW every day - I'd be happy to see a real message about the site and its future.
IOW, be an adult and keep it real. I like it. Did I use my 140 characters, yet?
Happy Dae·
This is a very wise decision and sadly very much needed on the Internet. The subheading on Genealogy Wise should be the guiding light - "The Genealogy Social Network" In other words anything not conected with genealogy/family history should not be entertained and it should be strictly adhered to by all including advertisers. It should be and remain at all times a family oriented site for all seeking help to further their research into their family history from each other and professionals who are happy to share their insights for free. Perhaps advertising should be limited to a special group to which individuals can be refered to. What you have written above reads very sensible to me and thank you. PS Perhaps the sub heading above could be altered to include "Family History" Declan Chalmers

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