How do we stop an individual from changing records incorrectly?
Recently discovered an individual is changing family records, mixing up names within and between generations and deleting the correct information. This person is unrelated to the family.
Julia Szent-Györgyi ✭✭✭✭✭
You can't stop it unless it's clearly malicious -- and the bar for that is very, very high. The Family Tree on FamilySearch is open-edit, and one drawback of that is that anyone can edit anything. However, it also has the advantage that anyone can edit anything. This means that you can fix it.
One thing you can try is to contact this person using FS's internal messaging system; just find one of the edits and click the contributor's name, then choose Message. Most often, such erroneous edits go back to mistaken identity, sometimes combined with a lack of understanding of the collaborative nature of FS's tree. You can try to politely suggest that the user examine his assumptions in light of these possibilities.
For fixing the errors, make use of each profile's Change Log (Latest Changes - Show All). It's somewhat unintuitive: instead of "undo" options on recent changes, it has "redo" options on the original additions. So for example, if the contributor changed a correct birthdate to an incorrect one, you need to find where the correct date was originally added, and click "restore" on that.2
Thanks! I have tried messaging her, but she thinks she is right to make changes. While she appears to be well-intentioned, her changes are undoing months of work based on official records from the Planer Colonies of Mariupol. And from her response to my queries, she appears to be doing this for all records she finds from the province of Saskatchewan, based on newspaper obituaries and other sources which may be fine for casual research but not for validated research. I sent an email to FS this morning to flag this activity and to request their assistance, because my family records are not the only ones likely to have been changed.0
I received a subsequent message from her and she has agreed to not make any further changes on my family's records. However, I have now found records on my maternal family tree that she has also changed, again incorrectly 'correcting' information. I'm hopeful FS will take some action.0
It may be helpful if you would provide some person IDs (PIDs) in the tree. We can take a look and recommend steps you could take to insulate PIDs from incorrect changes.0
Sadly, there are too many incorrect changes to make that feasible. I am not prepared to spend hours going through all the records she's touched on. The point is to stop this one person from making wholesale changes not only to my family's records, but all the other families records as well. She is unrelated to anyone in our family. She has also attached unrelated individuals to records. I've already 'detached' several of her changes that are unrelated but who have similar names, different birthdates and different locations. From the information she sent me explaining what she's doing, there are potentially hundreds of other families' records affected as well. Until now, I have rarely had issues with edits by others, but those instances were infrequent and we were able to resolve the differences to ensure accurate information.0
She is unrelated to anyone in our family.
How do you know that?1
Thanks for letting us know. I have passed this issue on to be reviewed.1
Responding to "don'tiknowyou". I've exchanged messages with her and had asked her about her connection to my family and her sources for changes. Her response made it clear she's unrelated.0
Her response made it clear she's unrelated.
Good to know. Well, @Diane Zil1, just so you know, there is no requirement or expectation that anyone building the tree be related in any way to that part of the tree. I find it most constructive to have an attitude of gratitude toward all who contribute in good faith, even if their skills are poor. Skill improves over time, especially if cultivated. So perhaps you could become a mentor or a model for this contributor to learn from.1