Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Solving Problems in NFS

After my post, "Solving Problems on Ancestry.com," reader Sue Barnsley took me to task for bashing Ancestry.com. I know I must be hitting that magic, journalistic middle ground when I am accused both of bashing and brown-nosing Ancestry.com.

Maybe it would be a better characterization to say that Barnsley doesn't think I'm keeping my FamilySearch bashing commensurate. My editorial goal is to deal equally with both, after all.

But Barnsley steps up to the plate for me with some biting criticism of FamilySearch. Read on...

Dear Ancestry Insider,

It seems to me that you are always bashing Ancestry for one reason or another. I use this program all the time. Yes it is expensive, but I also have to pay for access to the BMD from Scotlandspeople it is a fact of family history work. The work that I submit to the Lords House [Mormon Temples] has to be as accurate as I am able to get it. Ancestry is decent program and helps. It is only one of the resources that I use and it is a good one. Suggestion: How about doing a spot on "solving problems in NFS".
Some topics for you to consider:
  • Duplication, do we have the right definition;
  • Junk genealogy, has NFS aided and abetted the use of junk genealogy;
  • Standardized place names, what in the world where they thinking;
    [Sue, was that pun intentional? That's worthy of an A.I. high-fi'e!]
  • Accuracy in Family history - a thing of the past; [Another good one!]
  • Combining - do we have to?;
  • Inaccurate information - why do I have to keep it;
  • Why does some information show up on the Online IGI and not NFS;
  • Does all the work appear on NFS;
  • How true is the following maxim from one of our prophets: When records are copied in an improper way and incomplete records are sent to the temples, but one thing will be the result – confusion (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 2:208) - Let's have a discussion, infact this one goes right along with Combining.
  • Will NFS be released to Idaho and Utah before the problems are fixed?
  • Family Tree: slow, cumbersome and not intuitive, but we will roll it out anyway - You will learn to love it.
  • Discussion: Some of the names found in the temple recently - Are you responsible? (Some that have made it to our temple through this program include C-1, C-2, C-3 interpreted Child 1, Child 2, Child 3)
  • Why are there no checks and balances or quality assurance built into this program?
I could go on. Programs should not be rolled out until they are tested and fixed in production, because it is difficult and expensive to fix when a program has been rolled out. Any programmer or project manager worth their salt knows that. And I guess that as long as there are members who think that NFS is the greatest thing since sliced cheese FamilySearch will continue to market this product as "wonderful" but for the rest of us, we just shake our heads in disgust and ask what in the world where they thinking.

Sue Barnsley

Dear Sue,

Don't sugar coat it like that. Tell us what you really think about the new FamilySearch. Sounds like somebody got up on the wrong side of the GED-COM!

Seriously, I have to correct your misunderstanding regarding the "Solving Problems..." article. That was not a case of Ancestry.com bashing. The article addressed problems caused by browsers and the caching architecture of the Internet. Ancestry.com is not the problem, so how can I bash them about it?

Don't get me wrong. I love to bash Ancestry.com and do so whenever...

  1. I can,
  2. they need it,
  3. I can provide steps to reproduce the problem I'm complaining about, and
  4. I have a positive suggestion for fixing the problem.

But with great article titles like that, if you can back them up with articles, I'd be happy to publish them for you. Sounds like you have some good things to say. Bring it on, Sue. Bring it on.

— The Ancestry Insider

2 comments:

  1. Sue and you wrote: "Standardized place names, what in the world where they thinking;
    [Sue, was that pun intentional? That's worthy of an A.I. high-fi'e!]"
    I'd like to see a discussion on that too! I've been watching the beta wiki site, www.WeRelate, discuss that very subject at their watercooler. I believe there is a need to keep both the historical name and the modern name.

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  2. Although I see many things that can be improved with NFS I believe it is a step toward fixing the existing problems we have had with duplication of Temple work. I have been using it for a while now and have found it to be better each time I do.
    I think that we need to have a positive attitude about this new change and try and help alleviate some of the bugs and snags by working together.
    Sometimes we Family History geeks, just get stuck in a rut and have a hard time with change...myself included.

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