Genealogy Wise

The Genealogy & Family History Social Network

Today is the one-week birthday of GenealogyWise. In the last couple of days we have had to face some censorship issues for the first time. We have not been around long enough to have set policies for these kind of issues. So, we want to turn to you, our members, to help us set our censorship policies. We invite each of you to respond letting us know whether or not you think the following types of posts should be censored:

(1) Content related to pornography or adult content
(2) Content promoting products and services not related to genealogy (business opportunities, etc.)
(3) Content that is disrespectful or rude (name calling, etc.)

We value your feedback and want your help in setting policies. What do you think?

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Absolutely none of the above! One and two are obviously not appropriate. And I believe that all of us should strive for a heightened level of civility in this forum. Respect and courtesy are the grease that oils the wheels of civilization. Right now the wheels are squeaky enough, don't you think?

Get rid of all three. I'm not a fan of censorship, but any differences of opinion that would lead to (3) should be taken outside, I didn't join this site to be solicited by entrepreneurs (2), and (1) has no place on the site at all.
I'd like to see pornography and other types of spam removed, but I'd prefer "disrespectful" content to remain unless it violates any laws. I would want to have that information about the person that posted it, that he/she is capable, and hot-headed enough, to post that kind of thing.

I agree with all the policies. This should be a nice place to share information and not be called name, see adds for just stuff and I do not want to see any adult content when I sigh in!
I (@genealogywise) just got the original post by Terry Thornton from @geneabloggers (I never saw the original, it was deleted before I knew about it, but I have been told this is unedited).

by Terry Thornton

At 12:58 PM July 15, 2009, the following arrived in my email from GenealogyWise and appeared also in the Notes Home at GW.

GenealogyWise is running 8 contests with $800 in total prizes between now and August 6:

$100 for the member with the most confirmed friends in GenealogyWise.
$100 to the owner of the group with the most members.
$100 to the owner of the surname group with the most members.
$100 to the creator of the genealogy-related video on GenealogyWise that has been viewed the most times.
$100 to the member who has uploaded the most historical photos.
$100 to the person who adds the most genealogy-related videos.
$100 to the person who has the most popular blog entry (most page views).
$100 to the most active member in the forums.
The contest ends at 1 pm MST on August 6. GenealogyWise employees are not eligible. GenealogyWise reserves final authority to determine the winners, and our decisions are final. Payments to winners outside the US will be made via PayPal.

Golly, GW is starting up a stimulus package and it is all based on numbers.

But then is not stimulus always based upon numbers --- real, phony, inflated, or pure baloney?

It is not how much you've got but how you use it that is really important and I think we should all tell GW that. Contests based upon numbers results in folks running about bragging "mine's bigger" and as a result start believing that "mine's better."

GenealogyWise should be ashamed.

Why not a contest based upon content, character, helpfulness, consistency, and clarity of postings/comments rather than who has piled up the most numbers in any of these categories?

I'm so disappointed with GW for basing a contest on numbers that I am thinking ugly thoughts about whoever let this idea see daylight.

If GW is gonna insist on carrying through with this notion, then perhaps we need more information.

Can we barter numbers?

Could I, for instance, loan all my Friends to someone to inflate their standing? I really like the GeneaBloggers Group so I could ask all the HOGS to sign up over there just to run up the numbers.

Could I, for instance, make a deal with Group A that we will swap, one for one, comments. If I send all my HOGS to GeneaBloggers, maybe all the GeneaBloggers will make comments at HOGS swelling it to bloated proportions. But then all HOGS should be fat, shouldn't they? Answer: Arkansas Razor Backs are not lard hogs --- and I'm talking only about lard hogs.

Could I, for instance, invent a surname and induce mega-membership and still win $100? Couldn't I add a surname group of my name spelled backwards, offer a false prize of $10,000 which I never intend to pay to some "lucky" new member, and walk away with GW's money?

How about if I upload my video and then demand that all my friends and members of my group watch it till their eyes glaze over? I could convert one of my most-looked-at posts at HILL COUNTRY, the one called "Naked Ladies of the Hill Country" and I bet everyone would come and look. It is about a historical subject --- if old-fashioned yard plants qualify as historical.

What's historical in the photo department? I've got several thousand files over at flickr in my account which are, by my definition, "historical" because they are all photographs of grave markers. What if I dump them all at GW --- could I still win $100? Obviously I could if my thousands of photos outnumber your thousands of photos. Throw in all my photographs of my grandbabies (surely they quality as historical) and I'd be a shoe-in to win.

If I start today reading my three blog entries at GW over and over again, could I not run up the most page views and qualify for $100? Maybe all the GeneaBloggers would all read my three blogs posts over and over to help me out.

GW, like DC, has, in my opinion, gone about this stimulus package all wrong. Let us not play this numbers game with GW --- let us instead continue to help each other, share with each other, post interesting comments when the mood strikes, and stop worrying about whose got the biggest anything here.

Shame, GW, for emphasizing quantity without nary a thought of quality.

But if GW insists on playing the numbers game, why not award $1 to GW for its efforts to save or to create the most pure crap between now and the end of the contest.

Now, all of you get over to My Page and sign up as a Friend, join my HOGS BLOGGERS Group, entice all your pals to do likewise (threaten to break their bones if they don't), and start commenting like crazy on my three blogs articles at GW. Don't do a long comment; break it into short two or three words and send hundreds.

Any prize I win will be spent on whiskey as I will need it by then watching this travesty play out.

Terry Thornton
Fulton, Mississippi
Which part of this post did GW find disrespectful? Mr. Thornton does not call GW names. There is no profanity here unless the rules have changed and the word "crap" is now obscene. All I get from this post is a member who is calling GW on the carpet for what he believes is an ethical issue. Disrespectful? I do not see it, I do not hear it.

Sarcastic yes, inappropriate no way. There is a definite "tone" to this post but GW if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

I think that Mr. Thornton is owed an apology.


Sheri Fenley
Stockton, California
Thanks Jeff for posting the original post from Terry. Keeping in mind that it wasn't my forum post which was deleted (and the comments of all those who made them) and I don't have the same feelings towards the situation, I don't find anything blatantly rude or disrespectful in Terry's post. Again, there is subjectivity involved and I am someone who grew up in New York where people can be a little more confrontational and not too much rattles me.

If I were the king of Genealogy Wise and I came across this post I would probably email the person as an aside and ask that they tone it down. But nothing here, in my mind, warranted removal.

Having said that it is evident today through your work and that of the rest of the gang at GenealogyWise, that you are trying to more than mere damage control - you are really looking for our input and trying to improve what could be a great genealogy resource.
Wow - GW you by far owe Terry an apology.

I understand that his tone was sarcastic, passionate, and a bit angry - but nothing here warrants it's removal. He never once used profanity or name calling. He didn't like your actions with the contest and felt very passionately that the contest was ridiculous (and he makes some great points!). Honestly, grow thicker skin.

If I was your company, I would be apologizing BIG TIME because what you did stepped way over the line. To be honest, if I don't see a public apology (you don't have to name his name unless he gives you permission), I will leave this site. This website has great potential, but you guys overreacted way too much and honestly, I don't want to be participating in a company that doesn't have the courtesy to admit when they've done wrong - especially when that company is demanding respect.

However, I do appreciate that you started this forum, but might I also suggest that you guys add a poll to this forum so that you not only get our comments, but you get an easy way to track the basics of what we want.
I think that if material is genealogically relevant or historical, then it should be allowed. Sex happened .... we wouldn't have family trees otherwise.... I find it quite educational to learn the social history that normally isn't written about. But I'd def not be in favor of anything blatantly inappropriate for a genealogy site.

Ads and promotions should be tagged or corralled into a single area. Don't let the site get bombarded with ads. It's a huge turn off.

Disrespectful content should be monitored, reported, and moderated when necessary. But only when necessary.

I would also prefer if the 'FamilyLink' poster would post under their real name. It's a social site, after all :) The username can be 'Real Name - FamilyLink' so you're still identifyable as being part of the admin staff.
(1) If it can be proven to be related to pornography or adult content - AND NOT RELEVANT TO GENEALOGY - get rid of it!
(2) You'll open the door to SPAM - please don't let it happen!
(3) Just be wary of the dangers of censorship.

I like Thomas's idea of writing a *disclaimer* at the head of a post if the author senses he is treading on shaky grounds.
I agree that the first 2 types should be censored. I agree with another poster that even selling one's own genealogy products should be restricted to forums specific to those products or user groups.

The 3rd may be subject to a broader interpretation. Perhaps there is a way to warn the offender and allow them to withdraw or change the post if there is perceived disrepect or directed attacks.
I signed up for a GW as soon as I heard of its existence. I was, I think, particularly excited about the possibilities of meeting and collaborating with individuals wth similar genealogical interests. I noticed the negative discussions almost immediately. I made no searches for the subject and yet every time I signed in I saw Terry's discussion on the main page. I did not give in to the temptation to read it as I felt I would be fanning the flames. It left a sour taste in my mouth just the same. I know genealogist to be some of the nicest people I know and the possibility that I would have to deal with negative hate mongering on a daily basis was very dissapointing. I think that once you have solidified your policies, account holders will be more than happy to report policy breakers. Perhaps once you get more than say, five reports the post might be deleted. The reports should come from five different account holders.

As for for the censored content:

Pornograpy no, genealogical photos that show nudity allowed but should be blacked out. Would you want your child looking over your shoulder to see it?

I suppose my fear with the business/ products issue is that it would overtake the site and then make it difficult to find individuals and groups looking to connect with eachother.

Agree with others that complaints about GW should be logged in a separate area. If they appear in any other areas: blogs, discussions or walls than the community should retain the right to delete them. Other content that is "disrespectful" or "rude" is very subjective.and so difficult to define and depends not only the person writing the message but also on the person receiving it. You would have to take intent into account. This might be left open to be delt with on a case by case basis with the offended party having the option to initiate the complaint.




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