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FTM2012 Corrupting Data Today Worse than when Problems Reported 13 Months Ago

FTM2012 Corrupting Data Today Worse than when Problems Reported 13 Months Ago

Posted: 24 Jan 2013 3:58PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 24 Jan 2013 6:53PM GMT
***** This posting is a preamble to a registered letter than I will send to Executive Product Management at Ancestry on Monday, 28 January 2013.

In December 2011, I reported severe data corruption problems resulting from bugs in the synchronization between FTM2012, then a new product, and my Ancestry Member Tree (AMT).

As a user of both Ancestry.com and FTM2012, my single most important concern is my data, which in effect, I am entrusting to the care of Ancestry and their products. I put tens of thousands of hours into acquiring, entering, organizing, and cleaning my data. It is my most precious asset. I would think that management at Ancestry would share these concerns, because the quality of the data that is made available over the site is what attracts users.

For 13 months, I have been feeding in detailed problem reports concerning the data corruption problems caused by FTM2012, through a direct contact in 2nd level technical support who has been managing the relationship with the developers.

Let me first define "data corruption". Data Corruption is change or transformation or my data that I have not specifically authorized the program to make. This includes adding data to my file that I did not authorize adding.

I don’t feel that the corruption and data integrity issues are being addressed. I question if they are even taken seriously because I see the situation getting worse, not better, during recent months.

The "newer" issue of the undesired and unauthorized date format conversions in FTM2012 that are not supported on Ancestry is a continuing degradation of the overall corruption problem, that was present when I purchased my product in November 2011. In clear words, the problem has not improved during the last 12 months, it has gotten worse.

Whereas a year ago I/we was/were dealing with corrupted media files, duplicated events and automatically-replicated source citations, the only problem that seems to have disappeared is that of the corrupted media files. The list of data corruption today includes:

• Name data being randomly moved around between fields during synchronization (this includes also the name suffix data (SUFX) that is not part of the complete name string (NAME). I have seen and reported several hundred such shifts of data in my tree, and continue to see it happen today.
• Event date data being converted without user request, control or intervention, into a format non-supported/recognized on Ancestry. Not only did I not specify or authorize the program to make the changes, the changes it made are not recognized by the AMT.
• Source citations being replicated under unknown conditions, resulting in (my case) at least 1,450 duplicated citations. Worse yet, FTM2012 does not allow mass deletion of these citations. The only way to delete them is one at a time, where each operation requires a half-dozen or more mouse clicks, cursor moves, etc.
• Shared marriage events not displaying on both partners profiles in the Ancestry Member Tree "after" synchronization with FTM2012 (under unknown conditions). I have added marriages in the AMT and literally watched them disappear from the screen at the end of the synchronization process.

It is very hard for me to simply sit back and watch the state of my precious data degrade over time as a result of actions out of my own control, while I work to constantly improve my data through actions under my control.

Why have the data corruption issues not been eliminated, and why, in fact, are they worse today than when the product was launched?

Why is it that everyone at the management level hides in anonymity forcing users to deal with employees that don't have the budgets, or human or financial resources to fix the problems reported?

Who actually owns the data corruption problem and when can we expect this to be fixed? Does anyone at Ancestry at a management level even care about the data corruption problem?

My past experience is that employees watch these boards. I wonder if anyone at a management level does? My impression is that they don't.

A reformatted version of this will go out to the Executive Vice President of Product Management by registered letter, as stated above.

Rick Larsen
Luxembourg

Re: FTM2012 Corrupting Data Today Worse than when Problems Reported 13 Months Ago

Posted: 24 Jan 2013 6:03PM GMT
Classification: Query
I've read your posting with great interest and empathy for your situation, because I'm experiencing problems with FTM2010 too. But it's all about the money. As long as more and more people join and/or renew with Ancestry, the less their concern about "past" problems and those complaining about them. The only way to get their attention is to successfully convince people not to join and/or renew their subscriptions. The people in the board room look at the numbers; the bottom line. And they should, after all it's a for profit business. But that's also the Achilles heal. If subscriptions decline then revenue declines and then advertisers will leave, further aggravating the financial situation.
Good luck,
Ancient Mariner

Re: FTM2012 Corrupting Data Today Worse than when Problems Reported 13 Months Ago

Posted: 24 Jan 2013 6:13PM GMT
Classification: Query
This post was deleted by the author on 28 Jan 2013 3:42AM GMT

Re: FTM2012 Corrupting Data Today Worse than when Problems Reported 13 Months Ago

Posted: 24 Jan 2013 6:44PM GMT
Classification: Query
Send me your email address and I will forward it. rick.larsen@internet.lu

Rick Larsen

Re: FTM2012 Corrupting Data Today Worse than when Problems Reported 13 Months Ago

Posted: 25 Jan 2013 12:52AM GMT
Classification: Query
Thank you Rick, for making us aware of the continuing problems so we can be cautious with our data. I appreciate you speaking up to get a product that functions in an acceptable manner & doesn't destroy our hard earned data.

Gary

Re: FTM2012 Corrupting Data Today Worse than when Problems Reported 13 Months Ago

Posted: 25 Jan 2013 1:26PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 25 Jan 2013 1:30PM GMT
I would like to take a moment and point out that the problem of dates by FTM2012 has been further complicated during the last 48 hours as a result of code changes to the Ancestry.com websites.

As you will see from the attached image, the dates corrupted by FTM2012 that were subsequently uploaded to Ancestry without user control or option during the synchronization process, now NO LONGER DISPLAY in Ancestry Member Trees at all.

For the present time, there is no fix to this problem short of modifying one-by-one the corrupted dates. FTM2012 does not allow Find & Replace operations in the date fields, and even if it did, it would again automatically convert all dates back to the only format it wants, without allowing user control, which is the date format we would be trying to replace.

There is a total disconnect between the development teams that work on Ancestry.com and FTM2012, with no one apparently talking to each other, and users' data caught in the crossfire between the two.

Have you inspected your data on Ancestry since you last synchronized?

Rick Larsen
Luxembourg
Attachments:

Re: FTM2012 Corrupting Data Today Worse than when Problems Reported 13 Months Ago

Posted: 25 Jan 2013 3:47PM GMT
Classification: Query
Do the errors seem to be random or are there steps that often cause failure? I am thinking about ways to screen my setup.

Re: FTM2012 Corrupting Data Today Worse than when Problems Reported 13 Months Ago

Posted: 25 Jan 2013 4:59PM GMT
Classification: Query
I'm not sure if "random" means "under unknown conditions" or something else. Let me take my best stab at this by using "under unknown -- to me -- conditions":

1. The date corruption happens uniformly under known conditions. All date ranges using Bef, Aft and Bet are affected.
2. The shifting of name date is more random, occuring under unknown conditions, and affecting some names with the same variables, while not affecting others. The best way to see the problem is to look at names that have more than one word in the Given Name or Surname fields, or names that have Suffix data. (I had hundreds that were affected, and hundreds of similar names that have "not yet" been affected.
3. The disappearance of "shared marriage" events from one partner's profile, while leaving it displayed on the other, is "random", under unknown circumstances. I have not been able to isolate the conditions that caused it and have studied all the variables.
4. The duplication (or replication) of Source Citations is the same as items 3 above.

Regards,
Rick Larsen
Luxembourg

Re: FTM2012 Corrupting Data Today Worse than when Problems Reported 13 Months Ago

Posted: 25 Jan 2013 5:19PM GMT
Classification: Query
This post was deleted by the author on 28 Jan 2013 3:43AM GMT

Re: FTM2012 Corrupting Data Today Worse than when Problems Reported 13 Months Ago

Posted: 25 Jan 2013 5:19PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 25 Jan 2013 5:47PM GMT
Thank you for your comments.

I don't subscribe to the point of view that punishing a company for the actions -- or, in this case, the lack of results -- of a small group of people is a productive action.

My posting is made in the hope of creating awareness and a call to action, not to punish, financially or commercially.

I am a committed FTM and Ancestry user, with a vested interest in solving my (our) problem(s) and have no interest in seeing anyone damaged commercially or financially as a result of the lack of progress on an issue, which most likely results from internal awareness or resource issues.

Best Regards,
Rick Larsen
Luxembourg
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