When I merge two people, instead of having three choices (which are very similar) of the reason I merged them, I wish there was just a quick check off list of things that matched. It could be similar to the check off list of reasons someone doesn't match.
Only if it also made derisive comments when somebody only marked "Name", or if they marked "Dates" when those didn't actually match.1
...check off list of reasons someone doesn't match.
I thought it would be good to show the check off list that you are referring to in this Idea. The following checklist is available when you dismiss a record hint:
As RTorchia indicates the quality of match/not match could be greatly affected if someone does so haphazardly (does not select all datatypes matching/not matching). I would prefer Merging to be more strict - either all record datatypes need to match corresponding fields from the person profile - and should be required to be checked off (or explanatory note for any discrepancies required).0
This is a good idea.0
About 99.99% of the merges I do are of legacy data profiles based on indexed events (almost all baptisms, for "my" part of the world). For these, the profiles being merged generally have just names, nothing else; the match is based mostly on relationships, not individual data -- and the sort of data that is involved is not entered on Family Tree (unless I do so, usually after the merge): godparents, house numbers, occupations.
There's another reason I wouldn't find a checklist to be a useful merge reason: it wouldn't help to differentiate between successive merges. I find it much more useful to write in the origin of the duplicates: why were there two profiles for this person? So: "[ID2] was a legacy-data duplicate of [ID1] based on the indexed baptism of his daughter [Name] in [Year]." Or: "[ID1] was based on her indexed baptism, while [ID2] was a merged profile based on the indexed baptisms of her children. Same person from different ends."
A third reason a checklist wouldn't work for me: by the time we get to that reason box, we don't have access to all of our comparisons. There's nothing on that page to tell me whether this was the one with the weird Latin occupations that turned out to mean the same thing, or the one with one of the birthdates transposed. I would be hard-pressed to produce a meaningful checklist for any particular merge in the middle of a legacy-data-cleanup spree.3
In my experience, many people don't bother putting anything worthwhile in the Reason box. A longer, more involved, list is not likely to change that pattern of behavior.
Someone recently merged away one of my direct line ancestors, with 30+ sources attached, with the default "This record contains little information. There is enough evidence to believe it is the same person as X." The profile into which it was merged was a newly created profile, with zero sources and no dates or connections.2
@Áine Ní Donnghaile , followup question : were you able to UNMERGE and maybe merge in the appropriate direction?
Open-edit ≠ collaborative. I'm a little surprised such is not considered abusive/destructive in Tree.0
I usually unmerge and merge in the correct direction, when I see the issue quickly.
Unfortunately, in my experience, that is NOT considered abuse but just a "difference of opinion." I've only had real success in reporting abuse when there were extensive racist remarks and an accusation of r*a*p*e (modifying the word to avoid the moderator bot). The gentleman accused had been deceased for some 10 years before the child was conceived.0
I'm a little surprised such is not considered abusive/destructive in Tree.
If it's egregious enough, you should report it. I've mentioned a few mass-merge pits I've run across, where someone has merged dozens of clearly unique individuals with sources, over an extended period of time (i.e. not just a one-day thing), and have gotten a positive response from the abuse team for doing so. Even if it's somebody who doesn't understand the system fully, negligence is still abuse.0
This is not a very constructive comment, and more of a "rant." So, I apologize! I don't understand the desire on so many people's part to clean house by deleting or merging people and sources so "my" opinion is what the record shows. That's not collaboration.
There is a man in my husband's lineage whose parentage is in quite a bit of dispute in multiple web sites and forums, not just FamilySearch. I've got people messaging me in Ancestry and I know the discussions are in other forums and genealogy web sites as well because I've been been sent links to them. Guess what, here in FamilySearch this man currently has 2 sets of parents, and no one, including me, has been motivated to take this dispute to a fighting level by changing everything to reflect their own point of view. There seems to be a general consensus to be nice, and let the record evolve and reflect that these are the current contenders, here are the sources and here are the discussions.
And this community niceness persists even when a critical marriage record is "shown" to have an "incorrect" surname for the groom. Wait? -- What? Yet WW III has not erupted.
This can't be the only situation where the sources are fuzzy, possibly non-conclusive and very sparse in number.0
Specific thread comment:
...of things that matched.
Typically Merge allows merging of things that don't match - append sort of style. If the things that did match were aligned (there is generally some alignment in the merge dialog but I don't know possible complications as to why exact alignment of all similar items couldn't be done) - then perhaps some automation of check-offs (what did align) could be presented as reasons. This is probably more difficult to implement than the current generic statement options. Names, Dates, Places, Relationships are generally what you are attempting to match...
@Gail Swihart Watson I guess I'll go on a bit of a rant in reply - mainly replying to the crux of your post:
I don't understand the desire on so many people's part to clean house by deleting or merging people and sources so "my" opinion is what the record shows.
I don't either - if one is merging only to have one's name displayed (latest contributor). But the question becomes - allow contributors to input whatever they believe - or whatever is Record Hinted - isn't that collaborative?
Sure, especially when Sources are fuzzy - but when that is done without the merging party investigating either the totality of original, more substantial claims or the disproving of profile evidence - no that really isn't collaborative and is what I have coined 'schizophrenic genealogy' - especially when the TRUTH about near-relations is involved. I think that is why many people do understand the desire to set the record straight. If Family Tree isn't after truthful representation of near-relations - then you're right we should all just be collaborative and accept whatever anyone adds to 'My Tree'.
My understanding of the desire - stems from my understanding of biology and of the genealogical proof standard - which for recent generations approaches the judicial standard proof beyond a reasonable doubt (no, I do not require DNA evidence - but can appreciate situations that might). Biology: I have two biological parents - who in turn had two biological parents, etc. - 2^n. Such mathematical precision in biology can be represented in Family Tree - by setting the parent-child relationship type to Biological. Where there are step, adoptive or other parent-child relationships - such can be entered into family tree (opinion: the frequent request Did not live together - should use Lived Together OR leave the persons separate - not a couple with relationship edit options). It is important to note that genealogy historically has been held to varying standards - but recent generations can be held to a higher standard. Thus my frequent request toward finalization of profiles (why allow open-edit of what is already truthful/correct?).
Take Aine's experience above - perhaps the only reason the person had to merge was attempting to 'take over ownership' of the profile (they didn't add any evidence - they just took over). No that is not collaboration - when the existing evidence clearly was superior. But did the person heed the Alert Note, the merge alert (surely there was one?) - did they have to disprove any of the prior evidence to continue merging NOTHING (apparently they added nothing)? Nope - it was allowed as collaborative. Perhaps the abuse department can use the ruler - was the change done collaboratively? - to determine whether something was abusive/destructive or not?
This is one reason why I support stricter merging and profile finalizing elements. Without such finalizing elements (they currently do not exist in the platform) - such as No more Spouses, No More Children, No More Residences, No More ... - short of making a profile read-only - requiring evidence which disproves prior Vital records - or even the totality of the existing profile - may be the only way to stop bad/non-collaborative merges. For non-Vital or insignificant record additions - sure add whatever does not contradict/change the profile such that it may become conflated.
So, if a Family Group - such as the one you describe in your post - collaboratively agrees on the fuzziness to the point that they agree to leave multiple Spouses/families attached - that's the Family Group's collaborative prerogative (whether formally or not). Or where someone posts a Note/Discussion about a profile inviting response for a certain amount of time - prior to them taking drastic profile merging - that's more collaborative. When Family Tree reflects - but does not expose (Family Tree does not display all prior collaboration) - the collaborative agreement of Family Groups over many years/generations (inheriting of family memories/treasures - including prior research) - where the truth about a profile is known - why leave fuzziness? I hope future FamilySearch development can display such generational/current collaborative agreement - such that it might dissuade others from changing what is already agreed (or otherwise be considered abusive/destructive - at the least merging changes in a non-collaborative manner should have the complete UNMERGE option?). Can such conclusions be mistaken - possibly. That is where collaboration in Family Tree is needed -NOT where it isn't needed.
If you (generic you not Gail) or the platform allows continual re-tilling of established Family Tree soil - the tree doesn't get to grow effectively. I'd rather have a slow-growing, correct oak (or pick your favorite variety) that honors Family Group collaborative agreement - than a fast-growing flimsy sapling - that will get cut down.
Bottom line: Please respect sturdy oak family trees - especially near-related generations of Living descendants. If you are going to change something - please do so collaboratively. It is difficult to get collaborative agreement - usually those with interest are sporadic in contributions at best (we all are busy and have limited time). Please value contributions collaboratively. If a contribution is mistaken - collaboratively Note the error - then remove it. All I can do is tend 'My Tree' to the best of my ability.0