FamilySearch Wiki:Policies

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Return to Guiding principles and policies

Use the “Policy Links” at the end of the Contents Box to access specific policies.

Personal Actions[edit | edit source]

1. Always work to improve the site. Better content, improved usability, and clear and complete information will improve the site. Freely apply the six FamilySearch Wiki:Purpose, Policies, and Procedures.

2. Bots provisions. Bots, or programs that update pages automatically, are not allowed without prior consent from FamilySearch management.

3. Civility and polite discourse must be the rule. Rude, insensitive, argumentative, impolite communications are unacceptable in the Wiki community. Written or verbal personal attacks should be reported to administration. Users and contributors should encourage polite behavior in others and report offenders. As a community owned and operated entity, this site and its visitors should be treated with respect and dignity.

4. Encourage others. Through words and actions on the Internet and in person, help to create interest in, and involve others in reading, editing, sourcing, and contributing to the FamilySearch Research Wiki.

5. Editing Policy. Be bold in your desire to edit. Don't wait for perfection to enter content, but be bold in contributing before the information is polished or perfect. Community monitoring and involvement have been proven to improve content quality. Therefore, rely on the community to help perfect the content. Be bold in correcting spelling, grammar, or other edits. Jump in! It's okay to be wrong. There are two things to be aware of: First, don't be so attached to your work that you feel offended or upset when someone corrects or changes something, instead ask "did this make it better?"; second, if you are correcting something and you find that you have significantly changed the format, layout or content of the page then consider that it may be better to make the changes gradually after consulting with the previous author. Filling in a brief edit summary in the box at the bottom of the page to explain the changes you made to the content is always a good practice to follow.

6. Avoid edit wars. Seek compromise and fair discussion when differences of opinion occur. Don't fight over competing viewpoints. Use the Etiquette Guidelines and FamilySearch Wiki:Dispute resolution process to help guide your efforts to resolve differences on your own.

7. Avoid legal threats. Site administrators will respond quickly to alleged copyright violations, however, use mediation to resolve issues, rather than legal threats.

8. No personal attacks. Respond to the content rather than the contributor. In most cases jumping to conclusions is wasted effort and is usually completely wrong. Personal attacks damage the community feeling.

9. Relinquish ownership. We all want the best material on the Research Wiki, and you agree to allow others to modify your work. Let it go.

10. Digital Coups. Don’t try to win an edit war by bringing in allies or by enlisting friends to create the illusion of support.

11. FamilySearch Wiki:Three-Revert Rule. Do not revert any page or any part of a page more than 3 times in 24 hours. Doing so may lead to action being taken against your account by an administrator.

12. User ID. Your User ID will be visible to all users. Consider carefully what name you wish to be identified with. Using your own name is ok, but to maintain a level of privacy, it may be better to select a User ID that only describes you to those who know you well. It is best to choose a neutral, non-controversial name. No obscene or profane names are allowed.

13. FamilySearch Wiki:Terms of Use. When you register to use the FamilySearch Research Wiki you agree to abide by the FamilySearch FamilySearch Wiki:Terms of Use. There is a link to that document on the bottom of every page.

14. Vandalism. Anything that is added, removed, or changed in the Wiki that is an attempt to compromise the integrity of FamilySearch Research Wiki is vandalism.

15. FamilySearch Wiki:Be Kind to Newcomers. Most newcomers are not familiar with the policies of the Research Wiki. Be respectful when stating policy; refer them to policy pages in a kind manner. Treat them with the respect you would hope to receive if you were new to the Research Wiki as a user or contributor.

16. FamilySearch Wiki:User Page. The user page is a great place to create a personal profile or introduction to yourself, or simply a location to keep helpful hints, or what you last contributed. Feel free to share your experience and skills, but blatant advertisements or lengthy blogs are inappropriate.

Content and Style[edit | edit source]

17. Attack pages. Pages which have the sole purpose of disparaging a topic or the contributor are not allowed. These pages will be deleted and the author will be subject to warnings or discipline that could include revocation of their site privileges.

18. Biographies. Biographies of individuals, whether living or deceased, are not allowed (except as an example or case study to illustrate a procedure or principle). The research Wiki is for general help in finding sources for information of ancestral data, not for sharing the specific data once it is found. For suggestions for where biographies or name-based indexes or databases can be published on the Internet, see Try another Wiki.

19. FamilySearch Wiki:Naming a Page or Article. When giving a name to a page or a new article think about how native language speakers would search for that article. Use the same key words you would use in searching for the article in the title you give it, including variations of the locality name. Avoid ambiguous words or phrases.

20. FamilySearch Wiki:Neutral point of view. All articles, templates, portals, categories, etc. should be written from a neutral point of view.

21. FamilySearch Wiki:Proven Techniques. When sharing research information avoid unproven techniques. If you have not tried it then do not share it, even if you are reasonably certain it works.

22. Verifiable. Always cite sources. Remember a reputable source goes a long way to establishing credibility. Sources are especially critical to genealogical research. Don’t think that no one will look up the source. In a large community there will always be those who verify sources.

23. Proper Content. Please avoid the temptation to use the Research Wiki for things that are outside of its FamilySearch Wiki:Purpose, Policies, and Procedures. Just because you can publish something widely doesn’t mean you should if it is not relevant.

24. FamilySearch Wiki:Article or Page Size. Article size should be determined by readability and organization. It can be useful to split long articles into multiple smaller ones, and provide links between the relevant articles.

25. FamilySearch Wiki:Purpose, Policies, and Procedures. Please try to avoid graphics or images that require movement, rotation, or execution. Keep images small and manageable.

26. Disambiguation. If an article’s name is very similar to another, make a note at the top explaining or linking to similar articles. If many articles share a name or name pieces, create a disambiguation page.

27. Link, don't copy. Don’t include listings or complete records, rather, link externally to the source. Don’t include lengthy poems, speeches or other source text. Link to it.

Deletion[edit | edit source]

28. FamilySearch Wiki:Deletion Process. To permanently delete articles or pages ultimately requires an administrator/sysop and follows a consensus process. Obscene or provocative pages will be deleted immediately. Those labeled or flagged as controversial may take longer to reach a consensus.

29. FamilySearch Wiki:Deletion Process. Articles, pages, images, categories, etc. may be immediately deleted if they are obscene, offensive, profane, or disruptive. Pages with controversial topics should go through the deletion process.

30. FamilySearch Wiki:Category Deletion. Deleting categories follows the same process as articles/pages. Categories that do not follow naming conventions can be immediately renamed; however, articles in the deleted category should be re-categorized first.

31. Deletion Process. Controversial article/pages can be proposed or flagged for deletion. Once proposed, if not contested within 5 days, an administrator may delete them.

Further information: Subjects outside the scope of this wiki

Policy Enforcement[edit | edit source]

32. Blocking and Banning. Users who fail to obey policy and who do not follow the FamilySearch Research Wiki Conditions of Use will be blocked from using the Research Wiki. Disruptive users, those who deliberately fan controversy, or who maliciously attack members of the community or community standards, will be subject to blocking. Blocking may last for a short or long period of time, which length of time will be determined by consensus of the administrators. Users who have to be blocked multiple times, or whose offenses are particularly egregious will be subject to ban. Other community members who are not banned should act responsibly to neither bait the banned user nor assist them.

33. Arbitration. A committee of administrators will form the arbitration board. Arbitration is needed when disputes about user conduct are reported. The decisions made by the Arbitration Board are final. However, a community member may Appeal to the Arbitration Board for decisions on deletions of content, blocking or banning. Appeals of arbitration board decisions are sent to FamilySearch Directors. There is no appeal beyond that level.

34. Disputes between members. When disputes arise between community members they are strongly encouraged to talk together and resolve their differences without using arbitration or mediation.

35. Mediation. A process available for request when disputes between members cannot be resolved on their own.

Legal and Copyright[edit | edit source]

36. Copyrights. Materials which infringe on copyrights must not be added. Only copyright owners may place copyrighted materials on the Research Wiki unless the contributor has received the written consent of the copyright owner. Materials from other Creative Commons sites (look for the Creative Commons icon at the bottom of each page on the site) can be placed on this site without concern. Care should be taken to always properly attribute sources.

37. Image use. Users should avoid uploading non-free or copyrighted images. Always describe image sources on their description page. Obscene, provocative or profane images will not be allowed, will be immediately deleted, and the contributor subject to blocking or banning.

38. Libel. It is the FamilySearch policy to immediately delete all libelous or defamatory materials. Libelous or defamatory materials should be immediately reported to administrators.

Policy Changes or Additions[edit | edit source]

Any changes or additions to the Policies outlined should follow the steps on the FamilySearch Policy Changes or Additions page.  This provision was proposed and approved by the community, October 2012.

Policy Links[edit | edit source]

Research Wiki Policy links