In our discussion with Gordon Clarke, we asked him what was to become of the old familysearch.org page. He matter of factly told us “It’ll be shut down, there will be no use for it because all of the information will be in the New Family Search.” He couldn’t be more wrong.
Following Shoebox's complaint, other bloggers have rung in to voice their opposition to killing the old FamilySearch website.
"This [issue] is of international concern," said Hugh Watkins, U.K. blogger.
Genealogy's humor writer, Chris Dunham of The Genealogue blog, was all serious when he expressed concerns about broken links. "I hope they remember that FamilySearch is part of something larger than itself—a world wide web, to coin a phrase." See the entire post for more information.
FamilySearch has released so little information about how "all of the information will be [moved to] the New FamilySearch," I think it a little premature to get too worked up. On the other hand, I'm glad people are proclaiming the potential pitfalls. One should never over-estimate vendor understanding of product utilization. The better the feedback given to a product manager, the better the decisions will be.
This is not the first time Clarke has experienced a "near-death" experience from bloggers.
Last September 2007 Renee Zamora reported that in Gordon Clarke's Northern Utah Genealogy Jamboree presentation "they confirmed that PAF is a dead animal." Since Clarke's presentation was in support of his actions to help out 3rd-party developers, some of which depend on PAF, it's a great irony that the sound-byte, "PAF is dead," overwhelmed the remainder of his message.
To avoid this problem at the March 2008 BYU family history conferences, Clarke read a carefully crafted and approved statement on the future of PAF, which seemed designed to reassure PAF users and the 3rd-party developers constructing products dependent on it. This author reported that statement under the head line, "PAF is only mostly-dead," referencing Miracle Max from the movie Princess Bride. Miracle Max declares an apparently dead character as "only mostly-dead" and then proceeds to revive him.
Hopefully Clarke's latest statement will not be reduced to "Old FamilySearch is Dead"—at least until we understand more about the patient's condition.