User group meeting agenda & minutes 20 August 2008

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Proposing ideas for this agenda

To propose or discuss ideas for this agenda, please use the Discussion tab above. As the meeting draws near, we will review the items proposed on the Discussions page and decide which ones should get highest priority on the agenda.


Administrative items

  1. Assignment of time keeper and note taker -- Excuse Fran
  2. Introduction of new members: 10 seconds for name and desired takeaways.
  3. Prayer --
  4. Review of Minutes -- July's minutes are now on the User Group Archive page and will be removed from it's current site within the next week or two.
  5. Today's agenda preview

Information items

Using the "Getting Started" page as a basis for discussion in Users Group Meetings

Discussion items

Concerns and perceptions -- Jimmy Parker

Carryover from Last Week

Log-in Problems and Questions for the Wiki Team

County/Cities/Communities, etc.

New Items

U.S. Maps -- Michael Ritchey


Facilitator was Jimmy B. Parker, Note taker was David Dilts.

Prayer by Barbara Baker 

Statistical report:  As of today there are 3,738 registered users of the FamilySearch Wiki.  That is an increase of 120 registered users over last week.


Vicki Standing, Joan Healey, Wilma Adkins, Barbara Baker, Charlene Pipkin, Lisa McBride, Baerbel Johnson, Michael Ritchey, David Dilts, Mollie Forbes, Jimmy Parker, David Samuelsen

Remote Attendees: (Anne Roach), (Mollie), Thomas Lerman, Ronald Subweeks, Sister Judy Wolverton, Lise Embley

Items Discussed

Use "Get started with this site" better. Sometimes we have Get Started page kinds of questions. We need to start reading (and editing) the getting started pages. We can help lots of new contributors if we work on these getting started pages. Make sure they are right, helpful, and not-so-techy.

Use Discussion tabs better. Use the Discussion tab on each Wiki page to help notify authors of changes you make. Michael Ritchey will use Discussion tab to talk through the changes people make and the changes to those changes. It is a good place to iron out differences. Work with people in the discussion tab, and sometimes at their personal pages. The goal is to encourage contributions, but give guidance and prevent chaos.

Wilma asked, "Should discussion tab be removed from portal pages since it may not reach anyone who will respond?" Michael said there were still reasons to allow discussions about portal pages for potential editors.

Still in beta. We need to be reminded that this is still a “beta” version in development. There are lots of features we want that are not there yet.

Concerns and perceptions. Jimmy was used to writing for a group and go to a central editing place, and they would change errors and there was a long delay. The Wiki is different. Jimmy is willing to give up pride of authorship if he can get things put on quickly. Put pride of authorship aside and let others make changes.

Avoid chaos. Best practices guidance are needed. We want Wiki to feel as if it is guided rather than totally random. USGenWeb is example of people putting in anything they want.

Expand scope beyond the Family History Library where possible. We have to guard against being perceived as a “Mormon” site. We need to not only say we have a collection at the FHL, we also need to point out all the other places where it can be found. Cite digitized copies where possible. In many cases we can use WorldCat links to cite books instead of FamilySearch Catalog links. Put all the places that have the same book. Put ISBN in Wikipedia MediaWiki to find which repositories have that book. USGenWeb page also has digitized books as well.

United States Maps page. Michael Ritchey: United States Maps. Michael Ritchey begged for help on the discussion page. – see page. Gave ideas on how to and how not to do it. Annotate the URLs. Old outline organized maps to solve certain genealogical problems. Do we want an invitation box to discussion page to draw attention to the discussion page?

Should we do an invitation box for every county? Discussion of pros and cons followed regarding mass contributions.

County/Cities/Communities. What’s the best heading? It matters a lot in New York where town people get upset if you call them a township. It may need to be adjusted for some states. What is a good heading that is acceptable more universally. We may need to put on discussion page and hammer it out, and then someone may go in and change it anyway.

New ideas work better on forums than on discussion page. Forums allow the thread of a discussion. Add Forums on agenda for next week

Missionaries are adding "shells" but getting confused. It is easier to change lots of pages later than to stop a missionary project. Missionaries are confused by changes made between passes. Only fifteen times have we seen counties where data was lost. We need to be kinder and gentler about changing pages. We need to directly contact a person when you change your content? Teach missionaries that they will need to understand they are doing well, even if someone goes in and changes.

Catalog name. Sammy suggests we use " catalog" rather than "FamilySearch Catalog." Michael Ritchey thinks 99 percent know what FamilySearch Catalog is but not Old FHL has more brand conscious than FamilySearch brand. Discussion: In shell put FS or just FHL?

Login questons- why ALWAYs go back to Main Page? Its on the board for change. Michael wants to bring log of changes to code to show progress is being made.

What's new. See flags on Flags of United States.

Report from BYU Campus Education Week on presentation about the Wiki.

Jim Greene gave a presentation on the FamilySearch Wiki at this event.  It was held in the old Varsity Theater on Campus.  That theater holds 392 people and was completely packed.  

He spoke of how things were done in the past regarding publishing research helps and showed how long it had been since some of the old outlines had been updated, and how few had been updated in the last five years.   He then spoke about involving the community and defined that. 

He then spoke about wikis generally, described Wikipedia and how ours is like that (how it will be about genealogy research), then gave a powerpoint demonstration of the FamilySearch Wiki itself, showing how he would edit when adding new information.  JamesAnderson 04:24, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Action Items