Genealogy Wise follow up

So I have been on Genealogy Wise for a week now. They are celebrating their one week birthday. As with any new site they have had some growing pains. Some I understand, some have been down right irritating. I have to say so far though I have been enjoying the community. Once I configured my email alerts so i no longer got notified when anyone sneezed, it’s been an OK place.

Today they had some fun with DNS, you couldn’t even get to the site, it went to a parking page. Totally understandable, technical stuff happens all the time. But then there was a little out cry from a member that his forum posts had been “wrongly” deleted. He then wrote a lengthy bog post on Genealogy Wise about how they were censoring their members. That is where I got irritated. I am one that is all about transparency in a social community.

Again I was able to chalk that up as a silly mistake and growing pain. But then I noticed a support person on the site made a post to this user and pointed out every misspelling in his post, then went on to lecture him about constructive criticism. That one made me speak up and call them out on absolute unprofessional behavior.

I was notified by email of two other posts to the discussion and MUCH TO MY SURPRISE, when I went back the whole post had been deleted.

I hope this page isn't the new trend at Genealogy Wise.

I hope this page isn't the new trend at Genealogy Wise.


So I tweeted about it and it looks like I’m not alone in my disappointment. I did get a tweet back from Genealogy wise (@GenealogyWise) assuring me that the issue has their attention and they are looking for input. I want to say i am proud of them for that move. That takes guts.

In the thread I saw this post which made me a lot happier about the situation.

“I just spoke with Paul Allen, our CEO, and he feels that we should allow all feedback about GenealogyWise without removing it, even if it is disrespectful. I apologize for the posts I removed that I felt were discrespectful to GW. That will not be our policy going forward. So, go ahead and bash away. :)

I think it might make sense to have some kind of rules about treating other community members with respect, but we won’t have those same rules for negative posts about GW. What do each of you think about that?

Also, Paul would like us to ask the community what you think about profanity. Should that be censored at all, and if so, what types of profanity?”

You can chime in by clicking here.

I Like Paul Allen and I respect him very much. He is a evangelist of the social community. That’s why I had had such a hard time understanding why one of his web properties was reacting like this. Heaven knows they have taken their share of lumps about their FaceBook App “We’re Related”. Check out some of the comments on their uservoice page. Its not all sunshine, but I think it takes a strong company to listen and make adjustments.

I’m not a fan of the way they are running the contest they just launched either. The first rules came and and seemed a little suspect to people about building quantity and not quality. Which is fine if that’s what they are trying to do. I can’t fault them for wanting to jump start a new site. The thing that made me really sad about it is when they altered the rules and re-posted them. They looked even more suspect to me and left a lot of subjective wiggle room.

Don’t go away thinking I don’t like Genealogy Wise. I frankly haven’t made up my mind yet. I will continue to watch and see. I will always try to give you the most honest opinion and information here. I think so far there have been some mistakes that hopefully can change for them to have a good future.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, July 16th, 2009 at 2:58 pm and is filed under Random Rants, Social Tools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

6 Responses to “Genealogy Wise follow up”

  1. Thomas MacEntee Says:

    I am also in the “wait and see” mode – I am certain that if Genealogy Wise doesn’t work for me and I leave there will be those in the genealogy blogging community with a chip on their shoulder who will say “told you so.” But nothing ventured nothing gained, right? You have to be willing to try new things and to expand your horizons – that is why I have a cell phone and am not still using an 8-party line at home. Progress moves forward with or without you.

    I am also willing to forgive a person or company for their mistakes. I am a strong believer in redemption and believe in giving second and even third chances – we as a country are all too willing to accuse, convict and do whatever’s next right away. And if someone comes back having learned from their mistakes and wants to move forward, how often do we not let them do that?

    I always try to keep in mind this: When someone changes we often have to change the way in which we look at them.

  2. Tamura Jones Says:

    GenealogyWise deleted the original forum post criticising the contest including all comments, and later a few comments on the forum post about censorship.
    Terry decided to leave GenealogyWise and when he deleted his profile, all his other content was deleted with it.

  3. Lisa Rex Says:

    Thanks for the follow up, Dusty. GenealogyWise certainly got my attention when they posted their original contest… it was a poorly judged move that would have only produced bad behavior on the site. I still don’t see why they need a contest at all…. the site is only a week old! It will grow organically if the focus is on the social aspects … sharing, collaborating etc.

    My other annoyance is the fact the site’s admin(s) are hiding behind the FamilyLink username. I’ve suggested they post under their real name as it’s a social site.

    I haven’t jumped into GW yet because I have to be sure it’s worth my time. I do genuinely hope it benefits genealogists…

  4. Terry Thornton Says:

    Censorship happens. My words and the words of several members who commented and my replies to them at GenealogyWise were removed without notice. And to make matters worse, after the fact someone with the organization stated on their public forum that all of those words had crossed over some magic line and were disrespectful and bashing and now they’ve added rude as one of the offenses.

    Because the post and words and replies have all been vaporized in a fit of corporate censorship I guess you could use just any old excuse to justify that action.

    Yes, censorship happens. It happened to me within the past 24 hours at GenealogyWise. And that is why I removed my membership from 15 groups there, dropped almost 100 Friends there, deleted my blog posts I had placed there, and deleted a 72 member group I’d started there. GenealogyWise was not a wise place for me to be.

    I won’t be going back.

    Terry Thornton
    Fulton, Mississippi

  5. Dusty Says:


    Thank you for sharing your story here. It seems they are trying to make things better for the future. It is unfortunate that you had to experience this. I was personally shocked to see it happen. You will be missed there. You are an active part of the blogging community.

  6. Ancestry Tool Box » Blog Archive » Formal apology from Genealogy Wise Says:

    […] Terry Thornton. Terry was the user who was the center of the “censorship” issues that I blogged about yesterday. In that post I did mention my respect for Paul Allen and his contribution to both the genealogy […]

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