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improvements to FTM 2011 - Quality Indicators

improvements to FTM 2011 - Quality Indicators

Posted: 13 Jan 2011 4:48PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 29 Jul 2013 7:35PM GMT
When you are building a large tree it can be easy to lose track of how complete various parts of the tree are, and where it is weak.

It would be very useful to have a way to indicate and then report or display the degree of completion of various links and nodes in the tree. For example, a way to indicate how sure you are that a given individual is indeed the ancestor you think s/he is. Either a low/med/high or a percent certainty flag on the individual, which could appear in the individual's box in the Family tree. Also, for each individual it would be nice to be able to display key indicator status, particularly birth, marriage, and death. Perhaps small B, M and D icons that would appear in the box only if you indicate on their Person facts that you have solid documentation of these facts. Another useful attribute would be a general "degree of completeness" indication that you could set, so you can easily find individuals that need more work. Perhaps there is a current way to easily accomplish these goals that I've missed?

Re: Quality Indicators

Posted: 13 Jan 2011 4:51PM GMT
Classification: Query
I should mention that I'm actually referring to improvements to FTM 2011, although I suppose this would apply to trees displayed at ancestry.com too.

JVH

Re: Quality Indicators

Posted: 13 Jan 2011 6:47PM GMT
Classification: Query
FTM is a completely different entity from website-hosted trees and the programs completely different in nature.

The message board for FTM suggestions and problems is under the genealogy software topic:

http://boards.rootsweb.com/topics.software.famtreemaker/mb.a...


Re: Quality Indicators - Moved

Posted: 13 Jan 2011 9:38PM GMT
Classification: Query
I've moved this post to the rootsweb FTM board. JVH

Re: Quality Indicators

Posted: 20 Mar 2012 6:09PM GMT
Classification: Query
I would like this for the Ancestry.com site. I suggest that each person in the tree have a "quality" scale, perhaps from 1 to 5, where 5 is 100% certainty that the ancestor belongs in the tree(line) and and 1 is low probability but the best shot I have. I would then color each persons "cartouche" based on the rating. A low quality rating would make the cartouche turn red... for instance. This would help me visualize/locate which ancestors I still need to lock down with research.

I usually start with putting someone in my tree based on clues and them do some searches to see if I can either support or refute the individual. Having a color coded quality indicator would keep my tree from getting too messy with unsubstantiated ancestors.

Re: Quality Indicators

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 10:41AM GMT
Classification: Query
Even if Ancestry.com created such a system and made visual indicators available, pretty few would use them. The clickophiles would not. Most genealogists using a careful evidentiary approach would not find such a system useful, given how little of a tree's components can be viewed at one time.

Since Ancestry.com does not care whether any trees have any accurate assertions at all, it will not create some ranking system that would have any system application. It would only be an extraneous server load.

Research logs, spreadsheets detailing outstanding questions and what information has been sought where, and so forth are much easier to retrieve, together with research notes attached to individuals (which would not be viewable even in public trees unless the owner had invited editors). You can find forms for such uses available free to download in various places, including the Rootsweb.com home page.

You can create your own graphics to upload as primary photos.

Re: Quality Indicators

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 1:09PM GMT
Classification: Query
And who would be arbiter of what is accurate and what is not. People who happily had another's tree would not care. My advice: use other trees as a guide only and do your own research. One of my gg grandfathers had a very common name in Tennessee. In 1850 there were at least 3 of the same name, nearly the same age and all 3 born in the same state. No one could say which one was my gg grandfather unless they knew which son was my great grandfather-this fact I knew from my 90 year old father who knew who his grandfather's name. No program would be able to gauge the accuracy of that.

Re: Quality Indicators

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 4:01PM GMT
Classification: Query
Thanks for the thoughtful reply frostfreedet!

I will consider a graphic indicator of my "quality" confidence as primary photos. But, it would be better if I didn't need this workaround.

I'm not as skeptical as you seem to be. I think Ancestry.com has a business reason to care about accuracy. Ultimately, the company makes profits from gaining users and that requires a platform that meets user needs. They also make money from repeat visits to the site and user engagement. If you pull me off this system and on to another because of the accuracy issue, that is a loss to Ancestry.com.

Server load is definitely not an issue if engagement and usage goes up. It is just a cost of success.

That said, the target segment for Ancestry.com is likely different from those using the more robust systems that you suggest. I think the target segment would be the more casual "app" user crowd that wants a simple interface and tool. Because of that Ancestry.com will need to incorporate more "intelligent" features that allow the wisdom of others to easily flow to the casual user. I think "Quality" indicators are a first step... particularly if the "other-tree" hints arrived with some confidence indicator to assist the user in evaluating the quality of these hints.

I'm hoping to push Ancestry.com in the right direction for creating more value to its clients as well as more success for the company. I see quality indicators as the first step of many.

Re: Quality Indicators

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 4:32PM GMT
Classification: Query
mbmjlm, I disagree with you. I believe that there are plenty of ways for Ancestry.com to assist you in evaluating your parent to child quality. (But, I don't think there is any arbitration needed, the quality indicator is just a stat related to what other tree-makers have rated the connection. Nor do I think a program should be rating the accuracy, just other tree-makers in there own trees.)

For example, if all parent-child relationships started out with a null "quality indicator", then every tree maker would have to go out of their way to participate in rating the quality. Ancestry.com could share with you how many other trees actually rated the quality of your ggrandfather as son of your listed gggrandfather and how many trees were certain, somewhat certain, not sure, and just a guess. This would help you identify what confidence level the more "quality-conscience" tree maker has in your connection.

Also, the quality rating that you assign will help you see visually the quality (and weak branches) of your tree.

Re: Quality Indicators

Posted: 21 Mar 2012 7:47PM GMT
Classification: Query
Sorry, I think mbm is right about this one - those who are into the click/copy instant family tree thing are not going to even think about this (and if they do, they likely will "think" that if ten other trees say the same thing - often complete with the same typos and obvious mistakes - then they are "certain" about whatever it is).

I do see how it could be helpful for one's own purposes, but I, for one, would not care what others think - there are a few researchers about my family whose information I know to be trustworthy, but since I already am in touch with them, a compilation of such stats would not add anything. Just a thought: you could put a note to yourself in the "suffix" box after the name (assuming you don't often use that) and anything you write there would be immediately viewable in any list view.
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