***** 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.