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Re: [gensoft] Re: Hosted Genealogy Software

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  • Jim Winfrey
    Well John, since you asked, my perfect collaborative world would be a tool where I and the researchers who are working with me can enter all kinds of data -
    Message 1 of 18 , Feb 10, 2006
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      Well John, since you asked, my perfect collaborative world would be a tool where I and the researchers who are working with me can enter all kinds of data - research notes, basis for the inevitable assumptions I have to make, ways of identifying conflicting data, any the other kinds of stuff we keep in all those file boxes.  I'd like standard genealogy functions like recording of events, census data, alternate information, etc. 
       
      One thing I'd love to see is a way to identify overall confidence for all the people in my database.  For instance the confidence level for the relatives I have known is very high but for my 7th great grandmother from Poland that I got off the IGI database, the confidence level that this is even the right person is very low.  I'd like to be able to identify, for every person (not just individual events) the confidence level that this person is a part of this tree.  Several programs let you do this way down deep in the sources somewhere but it would be extremely useful to have the information adjacent to the person's name.
       
      My desires for viewing and output for a collaborative tool would be to have a common genealogy front end that relatives and casual researchers could get into via an access code.  Then a second level I would call research repository where the serious researchers I'm involved with can put any/everything we collect related to our research targets.  This would be almost a free form database where stuff would be stored in raw form until it was proven, used, disproved, or determined not to be useful, then it would be cleaned up and used to establish confidence for the data in the front end.
       
      Thanks,
       
      Jim

       
      On 2/10/06, John Topley <john@...> wrote:
      --- In gensoft@yahoogroups.com, Jim Winfrey <jimwinfrey@...> wrote:

      >
      > On 2/10/06, John Topley <john@...> wrote:
      > >
      > > --- In gensoft@yahoogroups.com, "Leif B. Kristensen" <leif@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > On Thursday 09 February 2006 19:47, johntopl wrote:
      > > > >Hi,
      > > > >
      > > > >I'm thinking of developing hosted (Web-based) genealogy
      software, sort
      > > > >of like Gmail or Flickr but for family history. Do you think people
      > > > >would be interested in such a service or do family historians
      > > > >generally prefer to have their data held locally on their own
      > > > > computers?
      > > > >
      > > > >The target market would probably be novice to intermediate
      > > > > genealogists.
      > > >
      > > > I'm very much into the same ideas. What kind of framework do you
      > > have in
      > > > mind? And why not include the advanced genealogists?
      > > > --
      > > > Leif Biberg Kristensen | Registered Linux User #338009
      > > > http://solumslekt.org/ | Cruising with Gentoo/KDE
      > > >
      > >
      > > I'm planning on developing it using Ruby on Rails
      ( www.rubyonrails.org/).
      > >
      > > I wouldn't explicitly exclude advanced genealogists, one of the things
      > > I'm trying to find out is how genealogists feel about their family
      > > history data being held on someone else's servers. The program I have
      > > in mind would support GEDCOM import and export.
      > >
      > > John
      >
      >
      > John,
      >
      > Many of us are collaborating with other folks in our research.  If I
      could
      > limit access to my data to folks to whom I give "permission" to
      access or
      > change it, I would certainly look favorably at a web based solution.
      There
      > are already a couple that do much of what you have described - one that
      > doesn't control access and one that charges a prohibitive amount for
      even
      > small databases.  So I am very interested in what you come up with and I
      > will give you my ideas/preferences as you proceed.
      >
      > Jim

      Thanks Jim. There would certainly be a permissions system in place to
      support collaborative working. What are some of the other features
      that would help you?

      John







      SPONSORED LINKS
      Genealogy program Genealogical research Genealogy software
      Software development


      YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS




    • Coddgenealogy
      I won t be writing any software, but perhaps could offer a user-oriented opinion regarding the expert/beginner dichotomy. For a person intending to write a
      Message 2 of 18 , Feb 10, 2006
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        I won't be writing any software, but perhaps could offer a
        user-oriented opinion regarding the expert/beginner dichotomy.
        For a person intending to write a web-hosted code, I think the more
        important dichotomy is deep vs. recent time. I'm constantly surprised
        by how many people who don't know who their grandparents were. For
        them, genealogy means, among other things, cataloging living relatives.
        And, to be fair, their interest may be simply family history, in which
        the menu for the church supper in 1972 is a big deal. That raises issues
        of privacy, not just to avoid spam and identity theft, but just basic
        personal stuff. And the latter ranges from close to distant family.
        One's hard disk is reasonably private. Once you shift that to a server,
        lots of issues arise. I won't enumerate them, but the conclusion, I
        think, is that no server (in the sense that you offer full access to a
        community, however restricted) will replace a private hard disk.
        If, on the other hand, you mean server-based databases that simply
        function as remote hard disks, then fine. But that is not what I think
        you mean by hosted genealogical software.
        Deep time is, perhaps, pre-1900. Those folks are so remote that I
        don't care what dirt sticks--the more the merrier. And that focus
        probably maps well onto "advanced" genealogy.
        Rootsweb just sets anyone with a post-1930 birthdate to "Living."
        Other web-hosted databases are agnostic (Gencircles).
        Anyway, it seems to me that privacy presents a thorny issue for
        web-hosted genealogy, and that mere 'access control' does not address
        all the nuances. Sooooo, a super-private personal server space, and a
        larger, semi-public presence?
        Jonathan
      • John Topley
        ... Thanks Jim. How do you envisage the confidence level feature working? Would it be as simple as assigning a rating (say one to five) to each individual? The
        Message 3 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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          --- In gensoft@yahoogroups.com, Jim Winfrey <jimwinfrey@...> wrote:
          >
          > Well John, since you asked, my perfect collaborative world would be a tool
          > where I and the researchers who are working with me can enter all kinds of
          > data - research notes, basis for the inevitable assumptions I have to make,
          > ways of identifying conflicting data, any the other kinds of stuff we keep
          > in all those file boxes. I'd like standard genealogy functions like
          > recording of events, census data, alternate information, etc.
          >
          > One thing I'd love to see is a way to identify overall confidence for all
          > the people in my database. For instance the confidence level for the
          > relatives I have known is very high but for my 7th great grandmother from
          > Poland that I got off the IGI database, the confidence level that this is
          > even the right person is very low. I'd like to be able to identify, for
          > every person (not just individual events) the confidence level that this
          > person is a part of this tree. Several programs let you do this way down
          > deep in the sources somewhere but it would be extremely useful to have the
          > information adjacent to the person's name.
          >
          > My desires for viewing and output for a collaborative tool would be to have
          > a common genealogy front end that relatives and casual researchers could get
          > into via an access code. Then a second level I would call research
          > repository where the serious researchers I'm involved with can put
          > any/everything we collect related to our research targets. This would be
          > almost a free form database where stuff would be stored in raw form until it
          > was proven, used, disproved, or determined not to be useful, then it would
          > be cleaned up and used to establish confidence for the data in the front
          > end.
          >
          > Thanks,
          >
          > Jim

          Thanks Jim. How do you envisage the confidence level feature working? Would it be as
          simple as assigning a rating (say one to five) to each individual? The view on the tree could
          then be filtered by confidence level if desired.

          John
        • John Topley
          ... My question really is, do people think that the privacy of genealogical data is more of a thorny issue than it is with, for example, e-mail? Countless
          Message 4 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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            --- In gensoft@yahoogroups.com, "Coddgenealogy" <Coddgenealogy@...> wrote:
            >
            > I won't be writing any software, but perhaps could offer a
            > user-oriented opinion regarding the expert/beginner dichotomy.
            > For a person intending to write a web-hosted code, I think the more
            > important dichotomy is deep vs. recent time. I'm constantly surprised
            > by how many people who don't know who their grandparents were. For
            > them, genealogy means, among other things, cataloging living relatives.
            > And, to be fair, their interest may be simply family history, in which
            > the menu for the church supper in 1972 is a big deal. That raises issues
            > of privacy, not just to avoid spam and identity theft, but just basic
            > personal stuff. And the latter ranges from close to distant family.
            > One's hard disk is reasonably private. Once you shift that to a server,
            > lots of issues arise. I won't enumerate them, but the conclusion, I
            > think, is that no server (in the sense that you offer full access to a
            > community, however restricted) will replace a private hard disk.
            > If, on the other hand, you mean server-based databases that simply
            > function as remote hard disks, then fine. But that is not what I think
            > you mean by hosted genealogical software.
            > Deep time is, perhaps, pre-1900. Those folks are so remote that I
            > don't care what dirt sticks--the more the merrier. And that focus
            > probably maps well onto "advanced" genealogy.
            > Rootsweb just sets anyone with a post-1930 birthdate to "Living."
            > Other web-hosted databases are agnostic (Gencircles).
            > Anyway, it seems to me that privacy presents a thorny issue for
            > web-hosted genealogy, and that mere 'access control' does not address
            > all the nuances. Sooooo, a super-private personal server space, and a
            > larger, semi-public presence?
            > Jonathan

            My question really is, do people think that the privacy of genealogical data is more of a
            thorny issue than it is with, for example, e-mail? Countless people (myself included) seem
            happy to have their personal mail stored on Google/Microsoft/Yahoo's servers, in
            exchange for the convenience of being able to access their e-mail from any PC connected
            to the Internet.

            Would the usefulness of a Web-based genealogy solution (that featured appropriate access
            controls) overcome such privacy concerns? There's a good, but longish, essay by Paul
            Graham about the advantages of storing everything on the server at http://
            www.paulgraham.com/road.html

            John
          • Paul Blair
            ... be a tool ... kinds of ... to make, ... we keep ... for all ... grandmother from ... this is ... identify, for ... that this ... way down ... have the ...
            Message 5 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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              --- In gensoft@yahoogroups.com, "John Topley" <john@...> wrote:
              >
              > --- In gensoft@yahoogroups.com, Jim Winfrey <jimwinfrey@> wrote:
              > >
              > > Well John, since you asked, my perfect collaborative world would
              be a tool
              > > where I and the researchers who are working with me can enter all
              kinds of
              > > data - research notes, basis for the inevitable assumptions I have
              to make,
              > > ways of identifying conflicting data, any the other kinds of stuff
              we keep
              > > in all those file boxes. I'd like standard genealogy functions like
              > > recording of events, census data, alternate information, etc.
              > >
              > > One thing I'd love to see is a way to identify overall confidence
              for all
              > > the people in my database. For instance the confidence level for the
              > > relatives I have known is very high but for my 7th great
              grandmother from
              > > Poland that I got off the IGI database, the confidence level that
              this is
              > > even the right person is very low. I'd like to be able to
              identify, for
              > > every person (not just individual events) the confidence level
              that this
              > > person is a part of this tree. Several programs let you do this
              way down
              > > deep in the sources somewhere but it would be extremely useful to
              have the
              > > information adjacent to the person's name.
              > >
              > > My desires for viewing and output for a collaborative tool would
              be to have
              > > a common genealogy front end that relatives and casual researchers
              could get
              > > into via an access code. Then a second level I would call research
              > > repository where the serious researchers I'm involved with can put
              > > any/everything we collect related to our research targets. This
              would be
              > > almost a free form database where stuff would be stored in raw
              form until it
              > > was proven, used, disproved, or determined not to be useful, then
              it would
              > > be cleaned up and used to establish confidence for the data in the
              front
              > > end.
              > >
              > > Thanks,
              > >
              > > Jim
              >
              > Thanks Jim. How do you envisage the confidence level feature
              working? Would it be as
              > simple as assigning a rating (say one to five) to each individual?
              The view on the tree could
              > then be filtered by confidence level if desired.
              >
              > John
              >

              RootsMagic has this in the source recording area - they use Citation
              Quality – this is a primary, secondary, questionable, or unreliable
              source for this person, family or fact.

              Paul
            • Coddgenealogy
              My question really is, do people think that the privacy of genealogical data is more of a thorny issue than it is with, for example, e-mail? Countless people
              Message 6 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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                My question really is, do people think that the privacy of genealogical
                data is more of a thorny issue than it is with, for example, e-mail?
                Countless people (myself included) seem happy to have their personal
                mail stored on Google/Microsoft/Yahoo's servers, in exchange for the
                convenience of being able to access their e-mail from any PC connected
                to the Internet.

                Would the usefulness of a Web-based genealogy solution (that featured
                appropriate access controls) overcome such privacy concerns? There's a
                good, but longish, essay by Paul Graham about the advantages of storing
                everything on the server at http://www.paulgraham.com/road.html
                The short answer is yes. Email is just an address, genealogy can be
                much more personal. Also, the whole point of genealogy is display info.
                Your email is private to you.
                I do like the idea of access controlled web-based software. Just
                saying that genealogists are still going to want and require something
                nobody can see. Perhaps just having a "private" tag available would do
                the trick.
                Jonathan
              • Coddgenealogy
                Re surety levels (confidence), you might consider assigning such to individual sources, and then computing the overall confidence at the level of individuals
                Message 7 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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                  Re surety levels (confidence), you might consider assigning such to
                  individual sources, and then computing the overall confidence at the
                  level of individuals
                  Jonathan
                • Dawn Crowley
                  I have differing levels of certainty on different data for the same individual. For example: death date confirmed from multiple reliable primary sources
                  Message 8 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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                    I have differing levels of certainty on different data for the same individual.  For example:
                        death date confirmed from multiple reliable primary sources
                        marriage date estimated due to lack of primary or secondary sources
                        birth date estimated based on eldest known child (especially for men who age 12-15 years per decade while women age 6-9 years in the same decade!)
                        relationships to each individual have varying confidence levels
                    Therefore, the confidence tags need to relate to events and to people.

                    Dawn

                    John Topley wrote:
                    --- In gensoft@yahoogroups.com, Jim Winfrey <jimwinfrey@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Well John, since you asked, my perfect collaborative world would be a tool
                    > where I and the researchers who are working with me can enter all kinds of
                    > data - research notes, basis for the inevitable assumptions I have to make,
                    > ways of identifying conflicting data, any the other kinds of stuff we keep
                    > in all those file boxes.  I'd like standard genealogy functions like
                    > recording of events, census data, alternate information, etc.
                    >
                    > One thing I'd love to see is a way to identify overall confidence for all
                    > the people in my database.  For instance the confidence level for the
                    > relatives I have known is very high but for my 7th great grandmother from
                    > Poland that I got off the IGI database, the confidence level that this is
                    > even the right person is very low.  I'd like to be able to identify, for
                    > every person (not just individual events) the confidence level that this
                    > person is a part of this tree.  Several programs let you do this way down
                    > deep in the sources somewhere but it would be extremely useful to have the
                    > information adjacent to the person's name.
                    >
                    > My desires for viewing and output for a collaborative tool would be to have
                    > a common genealogy front end that relatives and casual researchers could get
                    > into via an access code.  Then a second level I would call research
                    > repository where the serious researchers I'm involved with can put
                    > any/everything we collect related to our research targets.  This would be
                    > almost a free form database where stuff would be stored in raw form until it
                    > was proven, used, disproved, or determined not to be useful, then it would
                    > be cleaned up and used to establish confidence for the data in the front
                    > end.
                    >
                    > Thanks,
                    >
                    > Jim

                    Thanks Jim. How do you envisage the confidence level feature working? Would it be as
                    simple as assigning a rating (say one to five) to each individual? The view on the tree could
                    then be filtered by confidence level if desired.

                    John



                  • Jim Winfrey
                    I think most genie programs assign surety levels for each source but that is not obvious until you drill down to the sources. The problem is for a given
                    Message 9 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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                      I think most genie programs assign surety levels for each source but that is not obvious until you drill down to the sources.  The problem is for a given person we can have sources with a high level of certainty down to some with low levels - all for the same person.  The problem I run across is that I can have a person who is well sourced in their events but what is missing is a certainty level for whether they are really part of the line I'm researching.  I try to always document my uncertainties but that doesn't show when I'm looking through my family lines.  I was looking for some rating system that shows on the main screen for an individual.  It could be as simple as 1.  Assumption based on available evidence, 2.  Supported by evidence and sources, 3.  Proven by evidence and sources.

                      Jim

                      On 2/11/06, Paul Blair <pblair30@...> wrote:
                      --- In gensoft@yahoogroups.com, "John Topley" <john@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > --- In gensoft@yahoogroups.com, Jim Winfrey <jimwinfrey@> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Well John, since you asked, my perfect collaborative world would
                      be a tool
                      > > where I and the researchers who are working with me can enter all
                      kinds of
                      > > data - research notes, basis for the inevitable assumptions I have
                      to make,
                      > > ways of identifying conflicting data, any the other kinds of stuff
                      we keep
                      > > in all those file boxes.  I'd like standard genealogy functions like
                      > > recording of events, census data, alternate information, etc.
                      > >
                      > > One thing I'd love to see is a way to identify overall confidence
                      for all
                      > > the people in my database.  For instance the confidence level for the
                      > > relatives I have known is very high but for my 7th great
                      grandmother from
                      > > Poland that I got off the IGI database, the confidence level that
                      this is
                      > > even the right person is very low.  I'd like to be able to
                      identify, for
                      > > every person (not just individual events) the confidence level
                      that this
                      > > person is a part of this tree.  Several programs let you do this
                      way down
                      > > deep in the sources somewhere but it would be extremely useful to
                      have the
                      > > information adjacent to the person's name.
                      > >
                      > > My desires for viewing and output for a collaborative tool would
                      be to have
                      > > a common genealogy front end that relatives and casual researchers
                      could get
                      > > into via an access code.  Then a second level I would call research
                      > > repository where the serious researchers I'm involved with can put
                      > > any/everything we collect related to our research targets.  This
                      would be
                      > > almost a free form database where stuff would be stored in raw
                      form until it
                      > > was proven, used, disproved, or determined not to be useful, then
                      it would
                      > > be cleaned up and used to establish confidence for the data in the
                      front
                      > > end.
                      > >
                      > > Thanks,
                      > >
                      > > Jim
                      >
                      > Thanks Jim. How do you envisage the confidence level feature
                      working? Would it be as
                      > simple as assigning a rating (say one to five) to each individual?
                      The view on the tree could
                      > then be filtered by confidence level if desired.
                      >
                      > John
                      >

                      RootsMagic has this in the source recording area - they use Citation
                      Quality – this is a primary, secondary, questionable, or unreliable
                      source for this person, family or fact.

                      Paul









                      SPONSORED LINKS
                      Genealogy program Genealogical research Genealogy software
                      Software development


                      YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS




                    • kr_afol
                      The idea of web-hosted collaborative software is not new. There is at least one system out there (can t remember its name though). However, the problem that I
                      Message 10 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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                        The idea of web-hosted collaborative software is not new. There is
                        at least one system out there (can't remember its name though).

                        However, the problem that I have found with putting even limited
                        information onto the WWW (in a non-collaborative way) is that there
                        is always someone who wants to violently disagree with it.

                        For example, I have a relative who thinks our great-grandfather had
                        3 marriages compared to the 2 I believe occurred. The issue hinges
                        on one document that contains the name of this purported third wife.
                        I believe that this is simply an appalling rendering of the German
                        name of the second wife by an English clerk and that there is no
                        third wife. He believes there is a third wife. Now my point here is
                        not who is right or who is wrong. My point is that different people
                        can look at the same source material and form different conclusions
                        and this is where collaboration gets tricky.

                        Yes, you can have a system of confidence levels that each researcher
                        can assign to each fact, but frankly I'm not sure I want to
                        have "my" family history full of putative spouses and other junk
                        that I have to run around assigning low levels of confidence to. I
                        think it would irritate me enormously. If every researcher maintains
                        their own database, then everyone is free to have their own version
                        of events and add only that which pleases them to add.

                        I guess in summary, the idea is a good one, but I worry about the
                        social side of collaboration.

                        For example, who would ultimately control the information on the
                        collaborative site? Look at this Yahoo group as a point in case.
                        There is a group owner who ultimately controls the group. I presume
                        that any message I post can be unilaterally deleted by the group
                        owner and that I can be thrown out of the group by the group owner.
                        So the group owner is all powerful but since I have very little
                        invested in my involvement in the group, that's OK.

                        But how would a collaborative genealogy site work in this regard? I
                        have a lot of research invested in my family history. Would I be
                        happy to use a site hosted by SomeoneElse as my primary information
                        store? Would I be confident it would continue to be available? Would
                        I be happy that the site owner could (for whatever reason) delete
                        material I had added? Hmm, maybe not.

                        Kerry
                      • Paul Blair
                        I have had phpGedView running for about 2 years less a couple of months. There are 30 users, about half of them have edit rights. This means they can suggest
                        Message 11 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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                          I have had phpGedView running for about 2 years less a couple of
                          months. There are 30 users, about half of them have "edit" rights.
                          This means they can suggest amendments, or add new data. The data is
                          a copy of what I have on my own home machine, and the site is
                          password protected.

                          All changes comes back to me to approve. That sounds a bit extreme,
                          but this starts can start a negotiation process. In all of the work
                          (perhaps a couple of hundred amendments), there have been only 2
                          unresolved issues, and these are added to the notes so the
                          disagreement is known about.

                          The collaboration spans the globe - England, Canada, Texas (well,
                          they seem to think it's a country!), all over Australia (where we're
                          not so sure...) It has saved me countless hours of research, created
                          interest where there may have been none before, and opened doors that
                          I've really delighted about. The process holds no fears for me. And
                          it sure speeds up family debate!

                          My 2c worth.

                          Paul

                          At 09:24 am 12-02-2006, you wrote:
                          >The idea of web-hosted collaborative software is not new. There is
                          >at least one system out there (can't remember its name though).
                          >
                          >However, the problem that I have found with putting even limited
                          >information onto the WWW (in a non-collaborative way) is that there
                          >is always someone who wants to violently disagree with it.
                          >
                          >For example, I have a relative who thinks our great-grandfather had
                          >3 marriages compared to the 2 I believe occurred. The issue hinges
                          >on one document that contains the name of this purported third wife.
                          >I believe that this is simply an appalling rendering of the German
                          >name of the second wife by an English clerk and that there is no
                          >third wife. He believes there is a third wife. Now my point here is
                          >not who is right or who is wrong. My point is that different people
                          >can look at the same source material and form different conclusions
                          >and this is where collaboration gets tricky.
                          >
                          >Yes, you can have a system of confidence levels that each researcher
                          >can assign to each fact, but frankly I'm not sure I want to
                          >have "my" family history full of putative spouses and other junk
                          >that I have to run around assigning low levels of confidence to. I
                          >think it would irritate me enormously. If every researcher maintains
                          >their own database, then everyone is free to have their own version
                          >of events and add only that which pleases them to add.
                          >
                          >I guess in summary, the idea is a good one, but I worry about the
                          >social side of collaboration.
                          >
                          >For example, who would ultimately control the information on the
                          >collaborative site? Look at this Yahoo group as a point in case.
                          >There is a group owner who ultimately controls the group. I presume
                          >that any message I post can be unilaterally deleted by the group
                          >owner and that I can be thrown out of the group by the group owner.
                          >So the group owner is all powerful but since I have very little
                          >invested in my involvement in the group, that's OK.
                          >
                          >But how would a collaborative genealogy site work in this regard? I
                          >have a lot of research invested in my family history. Would I be
                          >happy to use a site hosted by SomeoneElse as my primary information
                          >store? Would I be confident it would continue to be available? Would
                          >I be happy that the site owner could (for whatever reason) delete
                          >material I had added? Hmm, maybe not.
                          >
                          >Kerry
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                        • Kerry Raymond
                          ... This is my point. The reason it works (for you) is that you remain in control, some are allowed to assist you, while others have merely an observer role.
                          Message 12 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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                            > All changes comes back to me to approve. That sounds a bit
                            extreme,
                            > but this starts can start a negotiation process.
                             
                            This is my point. The reason it works (for you) is that you remain in control, some are allowed to assist you, while others have merely an observer role. I'd be happy if I remained in control of the data too :-) But would it work for you if you didn't have that control and if everyone had edit rights? Would you be happy to put your data on my phpGedView where I had the control?
                             
                            Just out of curiousity ... with phpGedView (which I have never used, but have seen it on a few sites), what happens if I set up one too (over which I retain control as you do) and then we discover that we have a branch of our two families in common. How do we combine the information? Which site holds/controls it? One or both? If a WWW-hosted collaborative system was to work, it must scale to encompass this kind of thing from both a technical and social standpoint.
                             
                            To some extent, I am replaying a discussion here that took place among some of my colleagues (all distributed system researchers, but most of them not genealogists) a couple of years ago. Our conclusion was that a distributed network of genealogical information was probably possible, but there were a lot of pitfalls to be dealt with, both in terms of the technical side and the social side.
                             
                            Kerry
                             
                             
                          • Paul Blair
                            ... Well, if everyone had edit rights, I d still have control. Note that I have control only because its my site. If it belonged to my sister, she would have
                            Message 13 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
                            • 0 Attachment
                              At 03:35 pm 12-02-2006, you wrote:
                              > > All changes comes back to me to approve. That sounds a bit extreme,
                              > > but this starts can start a negotiation process.
                              >
                              >This is my point. The reason it works (for you) is that you remain
                              >in control, some are allowed to assist you, while others have merely
                              >an observer role. I'd be happy if I remained in control of the data
                              >too :-) But would it work for you if you didn't have that control
                              >and if everyone had edit rights? Would you be happy to put your data
                              >on my phpGedView where I had the control?

                              Well, if everyone had edit rights, I'd still have control. Note that
                              I have control only because its my site. If it belonged to my sister,
                              she would have control. I guess I then have to show people that I'm
                              using my power responsibly. If I didn't have control...hmmm....I
                              think there would be difficulties.
                              >
                              >Just out of curiousity ... with phpGedView (which I have never used,
                              >but have seen it on a few sites), what happens if I set up one too
                              >(over which I retain control as you do) and then we discover that we
                              >have a branch of our two families in common. How do we combine the
                              >information? Which site holds/controls it? One or both? If a
                              >WWW-hosted collaborative system was to work, it must scale to
                              >encompass this kind of thing from both a technical and social standpoint.

                              Sites like mine depend on GEDCOMs for feedstock. So, if we want to
                              share info, we need to share GEDCOMs, I guess. The web site is only a
                              mirror of my work, not the prime holding. Changes that come to me get
                              transferred by hand back to the master file. Tedious at times, but it
                              gives me thinking time...

                              At the end of the day, software is only a tool. But remember that I'm
                              collecting data for me, to share with whom I choose. I don't own
                              anything, nor would I criticise anyone for doing what I might have
                              done already. Anyone else can do what I did (probably better!) and
                              I'm not shoving my work (and errors) onto them. They have free will.
                              >
                              >To some extent, I am replaying a discussion here that took place
                              >among some of my colleagues (all distributed system researchers, but
                              >most of them not genealogists) a couple of years ago. Our conclusion
                              >was that a distributed network of genealogical information was
                              >probably possible, but there were a lot of pitfalls to be dealt
                              >with, both in terms of the technical side and the social side.

                              I agree totally. Being able to negotiate is an essential part of all
                              this! My mother had a poster in her kitchen about sweet words, and
                              not having to eat them tomorrow!

                              Regards

                              Paul
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