Rank the quality of a record source
Currently a user can not advise what they believe is the quality of the source they are posting to a record. All sources appear to have the same weight. We know some records are more valuable than others.
I suggest before a source can be added to a record, the poster must provide their opinion of the quality of the record. This could be standardized like several other ancestry programs, e.g. Legacy. They have four: Marginal Evidence, Probable Conclusion, Almost Certain Conclusion, and Convincing Evidence. It would be great if the entries could be color coded. A "check the box" would make it easy for the user.
The Legacy program also has a way for the user to state the source quality in three different areas: Source, Information and Evidence. The details are too extensive to include in this short message but I'm sure you have access to Legacy.
FamilySearch could also provide recommendations what you believe are quality sources so users would be somewhat consistent in rating their sources.
I have never understood the point of such rating systems. A record can be 100% trustworthy and accurate, but this is utterly meaningless if it's for someone else by the same name. In other words, a source has no confidence rating independently of the conclusion derived from it -- and a single source can be fully accurate for one fact while being completely wrong about another fact.4
Paul W ✭✭✭✭✭
Julia's comments echo thoughts I have expressed previously regarding sources.
Ostensibly, some sources appear to be clearly connected to the individual to whom they have been attached, but so often are found to relate to (say) a cousin of the same name, who lived in the same area at the same period of time. Often sources that appear to be the most reliable are ones that should not have been attached, after all. As both experienced and inexperienced users would obviously be able to perform these "rankings" I would not support their introduction (as an aid in presenting a guide for source reliability).1
I agree with Julia as well, plus there is another consideration that I know Julia has had experience with. A user in these communities wanted to correct a wrong birth date for a deceased relative, and gave the PID information that others could assist. Julia was the one who noticed the "correct" birth date was found only in records where the relative's widow was instrumental in providing the information. All "incorrect" birth dates were found in sources where the relative self reported when he was alive.
The user who posted the complaint did not understand how to compare the value of multiple sources when there is conflicting information in them. I am sure that lack of understanding is shared by many and would only further degrade a ranking system for source.2