Latest comment: 17 years ago by in topic Use as a directory
See also: Talk:GlobalFamilyTree, Talk:Wikimorial;;

I'm not sure where the consensus for this project currently stands. If anyone has opinions on the following points, please make them below so that an informed decision about whether to create this project can be made. Thanks. Angela 01:56, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Do we need consensus to start a new project? Who would the consensus have to be among? All Wikimedians across all projects? 02:42, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Should this project exist? edit

Yes. There is currently no place for genealogy stubs, or for information on or memorials for people not considered 'encyclopedic' by this year's Wikipedia standards. +sj+ 05:29, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It doesn't interest me but there are people who appear to be interested in obituaries, biographies, genealogies and such and facilitating their labors seems useful, even though I woud choose not to participate myself. I'd stay out of their way and let them get on with building it (and give whatever developer-related assistance I'd normally offer to any other project). Jamesday 06:36, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Possibly the project should exist. Consider what it might be used for:

1. Autobiography/curriculum vitae/vanity - A biography written by the subject himself. Many of these might be referred from Wikipedia.
2. Biography of the somewhat obscure - those who a few find interesting, but the majority don't. I gather quite a few of these might be referred from Wikipedia due to being deemed "unencyclopedic".
3. Memorials & Obituaries - Biography of a (recently) deceased loved one. Some have expressed the need for this, engendered by the Sep11wiki. (I don't see any need for this project to affect the Sep11wiki, though.)
4. Biography of long-deceased family - Similar to the preceding perhaps, but stemming from more of a genealogical interest. The authors are less likely to have known the subject, there may be more authors since the person may have left many descendants, and information may be hard to find, with different bits known by different people.
5. Genealogical data - Names, dates, places, & the person's relations to other people, and documentation of the sources for this data. This certainly overlaps with #4, but from long experience I can tell you it is much easier to obtain a name and date or two than something you could call a biography. Mostly one has the barest information. (Since this paragraph was input, several biographical wikis have emerged, such as and

Now it seems to me that #'s 2, 3, & 4 are fairly plausible uses. If any of those are seen to be valuable (and they mostly do to me), then the project could be considered valuable to that extent.

The first (autobiography) seems unimportant, but needn't be prohibited I suppose (but would it need to be limited in some way, as in number of pictures?) This shouldn't be used as a resume bin, since the data can be corrupted at any time.

The last (genealogy data) I think is quite inappropriate for a wiki. Genealogy involves significant amounts of data, the main bulk of which is related in a structured way (when present). Much time and effort has been put into constructing programs which handle this well in a structured and helpful way. These programs and web services are widely available, including some good free ones.

There's another point I don't see really discussed: What about living people? One thing is that there are legal questions: in general living people have a right to privacy, and a right not to be maligned or defamed. Public figures have very little of this sort of protection, but most entries that could be expected are not for public figures (or they would likely be in Wikipedia). Besides the legality of it, genealogists have generally come to a consensus that data (even names, often) of living people should not be published without their permission. Your aunt might not appreciate having it widely exposed that she was born in 1948, for example, even if it is true. --R. S. Shaw 22:04, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Good points (although I think that the Sep11wiki should be part of this project). The part about a wiki not being appropriate for the database needs of a genealogy project will be solved as soon as the Wikidata functionality is added to MediaWiki. So until then the template system could be used for that type of thing. The point about living people I think is very important for the reasons you give. It is also important from the standpoint of Wikimedia not being a homepage provider. So things like resumes, blogs, and other such nonsense should not be encouraged by allowing any articles on living people. I think this should be a hard and fast rule and whenever any such page is created it should at least be moved to the user namespace if not deleted. --Daniel Mayer 04:02, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)
yes! This project should exist. GlobalFamilyTree + Wikimorial + Obituaries.--Shizhao 18:01, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I don't see the point of such a project. Wiki is about collaboration. Why is collaboration needed or wanted for this? Most of the proposed purposes above sound either personal or obscure. Either way, I don't see how most pages would have more than one editor. So why have a wiki? Also, who is actually going to read this material? Can we justify space and bandwidth on a public resource (which is what I consider Wikimedia) to host special-interest and personal material? Not trying to rain on the parade, but... Isomorphic 20:43, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)
With regard to the 'collaborative' character of this project. I consider this project a prime example of a collaborative effort. The first participants will have to add a lot of info. And yet, as the database expands, other people can hook into existing info and expand their known family trees with ease, using the ancester info that is already present. It has the potential of becoming a huge project with many people providing basic relational data as well as providing 'did u know that' annecdotes. The choice of using wiki seems okay: allowing anyone to add links to other wikipages, e.g. historical events and places.
With regard to the personal nature of this wiki project; i find it one of the best idea's. Internet is a personal place as well, allowing anyone to publish personal info. A wiki that provides structure and embedding into other data is very welcome. Wiki visitors might be family members, interested in their very personal ancestry. I suspect this wiki will be used in numerous personal blogs and website who will show a link that says: 'click here to see my wiki-ancestry going all the way up to 1615' or 'find out if, and how far we're related'. --Jetze van der Wal 12:51, 2004 Dec 7 (UTC)

I'm lukewarm about this project. I certainly don't object to it, but I don't see any reason it is likely to succeed, either. Anthony DiPierro 02:51, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The best input and internal formats for genealogical information may be quite different from the best output format; for this reason ordinary "wikis" may not work well.

As others have mentioned it will be difficult to improve on Gedcom as an input and internal format; its advantages include simplicity, flexibility and, of course, the fact it is a standard. (A disadvantage is that you may want a GUI application to process user input, rather than direct Gedcom editing, but you will have the same problem with other methods.) Gedcom allows "fuzzy data", e.g. to handle medieval people with two candidate mothers.

A good output format for many users will be one that gives quick access to ancestors, i.e. a large pedigree with hyperlinks. Many users like the format at my website

and it is already linked to by many biographies on Wikipedia.

I may not return to this Talk page, so please e-mail me if there is interest in using my format and data. You can contact me at fabpedigree at yahoo or at jamesdowallen at gmail.

James D. Allen; 4 Oct 2004

Identity Issues edit

Should the catalog of people included in genealogical hierarchies extend to the living? Peronal information about people can be used for ill-means. Is there a way to have a system of 'opt-in' vs opt-in to reveal biographical data identifying people living today? And is there a way to only allow people submitting information about living people be verified and/or tracked somehow? This would extend to include simple mentions of people in genealogical 'trees' (i.e. the identities of the children of famous people's(and perhaps their residences)).

Should the current Sep11wiki articles be moved here? edit

No. The September 11th wiki is about that event. Most information about September 11 is off topic for a project about only people, just as items about people unrelated to the events of September 11 are off topic in the September 11th project. September 11 may usefully grow into a project about all terrorist acts and their consequences - but only when people stop doing what this appears to contemplate, treating it as a dumping ground for obituaries and articles about less than major figures which deletionists at en didn't want. Jamesday 02:09, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Some of them. Those which are mainly about people, and not focused on their relation to Sep11. But then there should be better cross-project integration across the projects in many other instances as well. This will happen naturally once there is no login barrier to crossing project boundaries while editing. +sj+ 06:12, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Those who are entirely unrelated to September 11 seem like fair candidates for moving. But not those related to September 11. That would leave September 11 an incomplete project, inextricably tied to the presence in print or on CD of other projects. Jamesday 06:59, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Yes - the Sep11wiki is a failed project due to the fact that its focus was too narrow. Wikipeople would contain many such memorials and have a geneology strcuture. What the Sep11wiki is is not off-topic for Wikipeople. --Daniel Mayer 15:47, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Yes--Shizhao 18:01, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Most of them should be copied to wikipeople, because they firmly fall under the "memorial" category which is one of the topics of wikipeople. Whether or not they are then going to be deleted is up to the people working on the sep11 wiki. Anthony DiPierro 02:48, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think we need a general structure to put things like sep11 in. The events in the Indian ocean these days highlights this. Some people want to make a list of pepåle that are confirmed dead, and there are (for now) no logic place to put that in Wikipedia. I think the work wioth this should be fast forwarded as wikipeople could be very useful for people to find information on relatives and loved ones. Brandnewbrain 21:01 29 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Should the Sep11wiki be removed and redirected to Wikipeople? edit

No, the projects are unrelated. Jamesday 02:09, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

No, the projects are slightly related but neither contains the other. The sep11 memorial wiki is an unusual project with very specific, limited goals, which will never be more than a few thousands pages in size. Wikipeople focuses on people, not on all aspects of life affected by a catastrophe, but may someday have millions of pages. +sj+ 06:15, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

September 11 related events are ongoing, so that size may not end up as small as that. If UBL stays on the run it could be growing for 30 or more years.:) Jamesday 06:59, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Many such memorials will have aspects of them that are ongoing. We should have one site that contains them all along with general geneology info about every person who has ever lived. Wikipeople would therefore be both a general memorial to the dead and contain information specific to certain events in which many people died - those pages would (as a part of their function) be jumping off points to articles on the people who died. --Daniel Mayer15:52, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

No, this wiki would not have to have every possible bio. R. S. Shaw 22:08, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Should the creation of this project wait until a Wikidata structure exists? edit

No, the evolution of the wiki will help to determine what is necessary for it and it's unhelpful to cast that in stone before people have had time to start and evolve that. Jamesday 02:09, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Agreed. +sj+ 06:28, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

We could develop a template system that would have a regular structure with standard fields. That could get us by until we have a Wikidata module. Then it would be easier to import the template data to a real database. --Daniel Mayer 15:55, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Wikidata looks like vaporware at the moment. I wouldn't rely on it being finished any time soon. In short, probably not. Anthony DiPierro 02:53, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Should Wikidata be a project that can hold both Wikipeople and Wikispecies? edit

No, each has an entirely different audience. Combining unrelated works is unhelpful and makes mirroring and reuse harder. Jamesday 02:09, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Definitely agreed. Unless we are going to make all wikimedia projects one big project. +sj+ 06:28, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Cross-project search through at least the main namespaces of a selected list of projects would be interesting as a way to tie the projects together even without a single database. Have more work on search scaling to do first though... I'll be very surprised if we don't have cross-project search within two years, likely much sooner. Jamesday 06:59, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Yes - but I see Wikidata as being a superproject that would contain many projects that require its functionality. Saying that both have entirely different audiences is silly; the same is true for different subject areas within Wikipedia. The big issues here are ease of use (such as searching from within just one project) and backup database segregation. If those issues are taken care of by the new functionality, then there would be no issue to having them (and other projets) under the same umbrella. This would make the creation of other database projects (such as Wikichemistry and Wikiwar) more wiki and less dependent on developer/board interaction. This is how new subject areas are opened up on Wikipedia and it has been proved to be most useful. But having these projects separate until such functionality can be created is fine. --Daniel Mayer 16:05, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

In theory Wikidata should hold Wikipeople, Wikispecies, Wikipedia, and Wiktionary. Anthony DiPierro 02:55, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Should this be a project in its own right with no relation to Sep11wiki or Wikispecies? edit

[Note- original question said "no links to", rather than "no relation to"]

Since it is unrelated in concept to either, it should be in its own wiki and database. There are currently 506 databases, all but a few for independent wikis with 23 tables each. If September 11 happens to have more information about an event in which someone was killed, including a very detailed account of events surrounding their death, which may not be in the regular encyclopedia, a link to September 11 for that detailed coverage would be useful. So would a link to the Wikipedia article covering the general event. Items about people should link to the articles which cover events in their lives. If a person in (one of) the new people projects happens to have discovered a species that should link to the species, perhaps in both the species and general encyclopedia. Jamesday 02:09, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think I agree with Jamesday, and yet (with the rewording) I would say Yes, this should be a project in its own right. +sj+ 06:28, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The Sep11Wiki has articles on individuals and memorial pages that concern an event. Wikipeople will have articles on individuals and memorial pages that concern certain events. I therefore see a great deal of overlap between Sep11wiki and Wikipeople. The relation to Wikispecies is just the need to use similar functionality. I see no reason why we should encourage favoritism to a single event that happened in the United States by having a separate wiki for just that event. The Sep11wiki needs to generalize itself by allowing all such events to be detailed there and allow for all people who have ever lived. Overspecialization is one of the main reasons why businesses and species go extinct. Setting up the Sep11wiki as a place just for a single event was a mistake. --Daniel Mayer 16:16, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Which domain should be used? edit

Wikipeople, Wikifamily or Wikimorial? They imply different goals. What is the goal? If it's only dead people, Wikimemorial is best. If it's only families, Wikifamily would be best. If it's people in general, in all their variety and with lots of self-provided information, from CVs to autobiographical information, then Wikipeople is best. The very broad content of a wikipeople would argue strongly for not having a one size fits all template structure. Jamesday 02:09, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

There is an obvious need for a genealogy project. I think the economical way to avoid many related projects is to incorporate that as part of a broader wikipeople project which includes mini-bios and memorials. +sj+ 06:17, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Different aspects of a single article on a person would contain different templates along with a field to contain longer info. What goes where will be developed by the project members. I really like the idea of a more general project - like Wikipedia - that would have memorials, genealogy data, biographies, etc. I am still a bit weary about having individual articles on people still living though. --Daniel Mayer 16:25, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

If the content is going to be restricted (forever) to bios of people no longer living, then wikimorial is acceptable, even good because it reinforces the idea that it contains only memorials for the dead. Otherwise, wikimorial and wikifamily are too constained, so the choice would need to be wikipeople (which isn't bad). R. S. Shaw

We could simply have From Wikipeople, the free memorial under each page name just as Wikipedia has From Wikipedia, the free encyclpedia under each page name. --Daniel Mayer 04:07, 26 Sep 2004 (UTC)

WikiFamily seems most appropriate to me, since the main goal would be the tracing of family trees (with biographies belonging on Wikipedia if they are notable, or belonging on a personal webspace if they aren't). A family tree shouldn't really be a full biography, but rather, a database of names, birth and death dates/places, bloodlines, and maybe certain details like occupation - but in summary form, not as a story. Though, perhaps Wikipedia biographies should be moved to Wikipeople? And Wikimorial containing memorials for disasters (natural or otherwise)? I hope this proposal is still in consideration, as I would really love to see a wiki genealogy project! Bcatt 19:27, 27 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

How can this avoid forking biographical articles in Wikipedia and obituaries in the Sep11wiki? edit

The same way that category-descriptions on Wikipedia avoid forking the related wikipedia articles. Any bio on wikipeople whose subject has a longer article on the person on wikipedia can limit itself to a brief paragraph and a w:link.

Similarly, any person on the sep11 wiki listed as one of the wounded or killed can limit the mention there to information related to the disaster; and link to a full bio and memorial on wikipeople, or to a full article on wikipedia (if one exists). +sj+ 06:21, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It isn't a fork. It's two or more independent works with a different focus which may have some of the same content sometimes, just as the cookbook isn't a fork of the encyclopedia if it adds more information related to that topic but doesn't cause it to be deleted from the encyclopedia. An autobiograpy of a 14 year old may not be appropriate in the general encyclopedia but it's fair game for at least some possible concepts of a wikipeople. A detailed, by the second, description of what happened on September 11 may not be appropriate in either a people project or the general encyclopedia but it is appropriate for a September 11 project. That doesn't make it a fork, it makes it a different focus and level of depth. While I personally would like much of this in the main encyclopedia, the deletionists or small encyclopedia view people there have made it clear that it's completely impractical and vast amounts of the content would be deleted as insignificant, non-neutral or unencyclopedic. I regret that but we have to deal with or change that reality. If you'd like to take a complete copy of en Wikipedia and host it on another site and start developing it independently, that might be a fork, if the people weren't still working closely together on articles. The cookbook might be a real fork - it's led to the deletion of large amounts of cuisine-related coverage from the encyclopedia. Jamesday 06:36, 25 Sep 2004 (UTC)

We could adopt public domain as our "license" for the Wikipeople wiki. That'd stop us from using much of the content from either of the other wikis on Wikipeople. Other than that, we really can't stop this from being a fork. What we can do is try to make it a useful fork. Anthony DiPierro 03:01, 30 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Biojack edit

It seems someone has already started a wiki similar to what Wikipeople might be. See which claims to be "a free biography database". Angela 10:54, 25 Oct 2004 (UTC)

That should not stop us from also creating one. --Daniel Mayer 20:35, 22 Nov 2004 (UTC)
I didn't mean to imply it should. I just thought it might be of interest to see how they are approaching the Wikipeople idea. Angela 23:47, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Getting involved edit

I'd like to offer my help to this project. I think it's a great idea. Plz contact me (see my personal info for more) --Jetze van der Wal 13:51, 2004 Dec 7 (UTC)

Questions edit

How would this project handle edit wars and accuracy disputes (like POV-ed article about someone [probably written by their friends/enemies], hard to confirm), fictional entries (hard to disprove), privacy issues (sensitive information like home address, disability/deviation, criminal and health records, etc.), and inaccurate information about someone that is kept for a long time because nobody knows the person? 05:21, 11 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Very good questions. The nature of this wikipeople project has some characteristics that seem to go against the practises used ine.g. wikipedia where 'commenly accepted (and veriviable) truths' are the basis for articles. This wikipeople however, relies on obsure sources especially when 'common people' genealogy is to be laid out and historical date is copied from old books, old family stories, and historical "paper" libraries. So the possibility of a publical verification of information is much more difficult. Yet all these sources are also a valuable and possibly only provider of data at the same time.
Thus considering that this wiki has very particular characteristics that set it apart from the 'normal' wikis, a more drastic approach is needed. This approach is new for a wiki:
1: this wiki is not about a particular article, it's a about a collection of people-pages that are connected through bloodlines. So allow visitors to store their preferred familytree. Alert them when new data is added to their tree so that they may integrate that new info into their existing (previously defined) tree.
2: introduce a way to evaluate people that add information (common scientific approach where scientists are being considered an authoraty). Let a visitor verify other work by the author.
3: to address privacy concerns, one could limit this wiki to persons older than 100 years old or public figures only. A method for making the distinction between public and private figures should be made available.

--Jetze van der Wal 08:52, 2004 Dec 11 (UTC)


I would suggest some kind of slashdot-esque rating system when people can rate the 'objectivity' of certain information within the document. This would help balance the stigmatic label of "this article has been flagged for X reason". (But then that is rife with problems becaus i'll have all my 'cronies' applaud my changes. and the battle never ends.)

Wikitree edit

See the Wikitree Main Page for an interesting project along these lines. It doesn't seem to say who hosts and runs it, though. Andrewa 14:34, 24 May 2005 (UTC)Reply

  • Hi - my name is Tomáš J. Fülöpp and I am a database programmer, social anthropologist and journalist from Slovakia (more), currently living in Brussels, Belgium (working for an international NGO). It was me who initiated the WikiTree project just over a month ago, on April 26, 2005. I would like to state very clearly that I am not in it for any profit. I am thrilled by the idea of joining lonely-growing family trees into one free Wikipedia-like project. The project tries to follow all applicable guidelines successfully set forth in Wikipedia and other WikiMedia projects. The aims of the project are to be met by the community of people, not by myself. Therefore, if the community decides it is important to change the strategy, refine the aims, or even change name, etc. - as long as it is for the benefit of the project, it can be done. It is only now that I see the WikiPeople proposal and yes, indeed, the overlap is considerable. I therefore invite all contributors of the WikiPeople idea to review, participate and discuss at the WikiTree Treehouse the possibilities of meeting the aims of both WikiPeople and WikiTree. Sincerely --Tjfulopp 20:55, 28 May 2005 (UTC)Reply

Use as a directory edit

If entries for living people were to include information such as e-mail addresses, messenger IDs, screen names, street addresses and phone numbers, what sort of defense would be possible against harvesting by marketers? A solution might be to introduce bot-proofing (please type the letters that appear bent in this picture), but not all harvesters would necessarily be bots. One could limit the number of contacts accessed per IP address per day, but this would cause problems for legitimate genealogists. (IPv6 could also allow a user to obtain enough addresses to circumvent this.) SeaHen 18:44, 5 Jun 2005 (UTC)

'Perhaps not revealing information about living individuals beyond their birth date, last name, and place unless they opt otherwise. Bots can spam the dead all they want :P 01:03, 31 December 2006 (UTC)Reply

Can we have a beta version started with a few editors? edit

Can we have a beta version started with a few editors? Currently I am storing biographies that I have written in my namespace, and storing the photos in Wikicommons. I am am anxious to place the data in a live format. I am experimenting with what categories are needed for biographies of people who are considered "not-notable" or "not encyclopedic". These people deserve their own space. If the information isnt placed on the internet it might as well not exist. I would like to volunteer as an editor and as a beta tester. If people need a place for their genealogical data they have, but no other space allows you to go in an edit with new information or allows other to collaborate. I think we need to set a minimal amount of data to allow an entry, not just a birth and death date. Please hurry before overzealous editors delete my biographies. --Richard Arthur Norton (1958- ) 22:50, 3 September 2005 (UTC)Reply

The nicest thing about having a WikiFamily (or whatever name would be used) is that it would be a free research resource, just like wikipedia and the other foundation projects. There are currently sites on the web which allow you to build a tree for free, but you have to pay through the nose to do the actual research, so they are of little use to a large amount of people except for storing information about immediate family (which won't be very useful until a few generations down the line want to use it). Also, the sites that do allow free family tree storage have strict formats which don't allow for the many variations in families in the last few decades (for example, in trying to add data for a family in which the parents were never married and the mother and child both had the mother's maiden name, the site automatically calls it the "(father's surname) family" and gives the child the father's last name) It is also impossible to indicate other common vaiations of today such as same-sex parents who have adopted, step-parent and step-sibling relationships, etc. When I inquired about the possibility of these variations being supported, I was told it was "impossible"...therein lies the beauty of a wiki version. Plus, I think a wiki genealogy project would grow much more quickly than a regular one (because of all these reasons) and therefore "connect-the-dots" between distant branches of family trees much more quickly and efficiently. Bcatt 19:56, 27 January 2006 (UTC)Reply

What is the current state of play? edit

This seems like an excellent idea, with some caveats for structured data entry. I can see it as a great collaboration enabled for genealogists who currently communicate via Rootsweb and other mailing lists, each storing their own information.

What is the copyright status of census, birth, marriage and death certificate scans? How about transcriptions of the same? It would be great to be able to store conclusions with links to transcriptions and scans of sources for all to view - although there may be issues with volume of storage, these can be overcome.

Of the other projects mentioned, and WikiTree still seem to be on the go, but I am unsure as to how well they have taken off. -- MatB 19:56, 21 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

Mat in the US, documents collected by the government are in the public domain once released. Death and marriage records lose privacy rights the moment they are created. Census' are released 75 years after they are recorded. Birth certificates I don't know :) 14:24, 17 July 2006 (UTC)Reply edit

Just thought I'd let you know about this proposal.--Bjwebb 10:03, 27 February 2006 (UTC)Reply

BoswellWiki edit

I was attempting to create my own at BoswellWiki which was initially planned for my family and friends.

Check it out and post. I would appreciate some members, but currently have anonymous posting enabled. Create a page for youself or just browse around and see what you find (currently not much).

What's the limit for a wikipeople? edit

Wich informations could or could not be posted there? Some informations maybe too personal or somebody may not want his informations there, what's the limit for Wikipeople?

Return to "Wikipeople" page.