(Apologies. This is a re-post. I deleted what I thought was a draft version of the letter, and my published post disappeared. I didn't get a chance to read any replies, and I'm hoping for some clarification.)
Background: I am on FamilySearch almost daily. I spend between 20-60 hours a week on genealogical research. I am not an easily-offended novice FamilySearch patron. I am quite familiar with research disputes.
In my years on FamilySearch, I believe that I have reported only two individuals for abuse. The first sent me a profanity-laced note.
The second recently made some libelous statements about me on an ancestor's FamilySearch record. I reported him/her to FamilySearch for the libel.
The abuse report to FamilySearch resulted in the following reply from FamilySearch:
(FSSRA-4531) Report Abuse for Discussions
Thank you for contacting FamilySearch Support and bringing your concern to our attention. Appropriate action has been taken and we have contacted the other patron about these concerns. We understand your frustration when others change data you have added to Family Tree.
We understand that there is a disagreement between you both regarding information entered on this ancestor. We appreciate the attempts that you have made to communicate and collaborate with the other patron.
As you are aware, Family Tree is a shared tree where all participate in creating persons in their tree along with updating information, records, etc. to document the persons in the families. Since many are related to the same lines, we allow all users to add the information they have to the persons that have been entered into the tree. The hope being that others that are related may have information that you may not know or have possession of, so all can benefit from the information. This is why we allow users to edit and update information in Family Tree. Generally, this goes well, but occasionally there can be confusion and potential disputes between patrons about the same person.
When disputes or confusion occur, it is important that the information is clear and available to all parties involved so they may review, together, and determine the correct information for the person in the tree. Unfortunately, some individuals do not put in sources or other information to present to other users why some data is not about the specific individual or why the new data is not relevant. We have found that more communication and more information on the person can help significantly in educating each other.
Again, we appreciate the attempts you have made to collaborate and encourage you to continue.
FamilySearch Data Administration
(As a side note, only one of the libelous statements was removed. I'm trying to find out if there's something that can be done about the other.)
I have two questions:
1) Is this letter a canned response from FamilySearch?
The response from FamilySearch does not apply to my situation. I was not reporting a research dispute, nor complaining that someone was changing something on FamilySearch. I was reporting actionable libel. Also, my report to FamilySearch was about the libelous statements, so any information on the research dispute that prompted the libel came from the User I had reported. Frankly, the lecture about research disputes and adding documents was insulting. Pretty much all that I do on FamilySearch is correcting records while adding sources or documents. Can I chalk up the non-relevant response to a copy-and-paste job?
To be clear, I did not direct any comment towards, nor attack the User at any time in any of the information I posted on the ancestor’s record. In one case, I had quoted the User in an attempt to avoid antagonizing him/her by deleting his/her note in the birth information.
I simply quoted his entry with attribution when I changed the birth information. For example I entered: "Previous note dated 12/?/2021 from User: 'What he had typed' Then my information."
I read through the Terms twice. There is quite a bit about private information. I did not see anything that said that we were not allowed to mention someone’s publicly available username in a comment, note, or discussion. Perhaps I missed something.
For instance, if someone posts a will abstract on one page, but the will mentions other relatives, I will re-post the abstract on the other records, with a note saying something like: “Will abstract originally posted by John Doe on the record for Bob Smith (FamilySearch PID)” I thought proper attribution was polite, necessary, and a good research principle.
Any insight from the community? Do I need to stop giving attribution to people when I quote their publicly posted information using their public username? I hope not, because not providing attribution is a bad research principle.