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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Discussion Tabs on New FamilySearch

One of the changes to New FamilySearch in the June series of updates adds a Discussion Tab to each individual in the database. Clicking on the Tab brings up a dialogue window:

There is a button to "Start a New Discussion." Starting a discussion is similar to starting a new thread in a forum, your give your discussion a title and then start typing away. The program automatically adds an attribution with the date created and the date of the latest comment. It is that simple. I suppose that there is some limit to the length of the comments or discussions but they haven't mentioned one.
The Help Center provides quite a bit of explanation about the use of the Discussion Tab:

The Help Topic is more complicated than using the Discussion Tab. There is a whole Help Topic on Reporting Inappropriate Discussions and Comments. From the Help Topic: Types of inappropriate discussions or comments to report might include the following:

  • Offensive or abusive language or content.
  • Information that might harm or embarrass living relatives.
  • Links to external Web pages with inappropriate content.
  • Solicitations for business or research services. 
Well, what about Discussions vs. Disputes? A discussion sounds a lot less confrontational than a dispute. The Dispute function did not work well. Once a person or fact was disputed, it could not be changed without the disputing person removing their dispute. Disputes were visible but didn't seem to slow down people from adding more inaccurate information, if that is what they were supposed to do? One the other hand, this Discussion Tab is mostly invisible. There is nothing in the program to tell anyone that a discussion is available to read. People adding duplicates or wrong information with a GEDCOM file, will not ever see the Discussion Tab for the duplicate people they are adding. But it is a step in the right direction to start some dialogue in a more friendly fashion. 

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