The TNG program allows all of us to contribute to the tree. It gives me the power to MAKE everyone else send me information or changes and then I let me DECIDE if it is good enough to add or not.
BUT I WON'T DO THAT. The information collected in our family tree does not belong to me, it belongs to all of us. To be more exact it belongs to our descendants! As a result the program is set so that any family member who asks has the ability to add/change information in the database.
But there are consequences and responsibilities of this power ...
1. Don't change things unless the correction is true!
- Family history is by its nature unpleasantly honest. It is full of issues or facts that each of us might wish were different or were secret, this makes the tree a work of fiction. To me it is an important principle that our tree only contains facts, I propose this is the basis of all of our endeavours here. Some family histories on Ancestry.com ignore this princple to protect people's feelings and as a result are so different from the facts that they effectively become fiction. One slight change and everything previous to the fiction incorrect too.
- What this means is that facts in this database are as discovered, warts and all! There will be a temptation to change things that you think embarassing or not particuarly nice but please do not do this. Only CHANGE to correct information Never to hide it. There will be ocassions when you decide that you know something that others shouldn't know, that is your choice but even then I would urge you to consider the loss of the information forever if you don't record it. There may be ways later that I can put time delays or something on some facts but at the moment things are IN or OUT.
- What will never be acceptable (or possible) is changing things that are in the database that are correct but you would rather we don't know. If anything is changed from a fact that we have documented then I reserve the right to put it back to what it was (a bit like Wikipaedia!).
- If you make a big mistake and delete things you would rather not have, let me know as soon as possible and I can retrieve it.
2. Document where you aren't sure!
- Where you aren't sure about a fact please make sure you add a note to say who added the fact and what your reservations are. For example see the note I have placed on the connection between James Kilkie and George Kilkie. If there are questions you have about a fact or facts then also add a note. Remember that ONLY family members see the database - but also remember that ALL family members. It is better to document too much than too little.
- When you add a note, add your name at the end and remember this is a database where most of us share one of a few surnames, so put your birthyear at the end e.g. Martin Kilkie(1955).
3. Be polite!
- I am sure it doesnt need overstating but many generations (hopefully) will use this database. Be direct in your notes here and on the Social wall but remember it may be read by any other member of the family. This doesnt mean secrets, but it suggests we are careful with the language used.
- I am very keen to not only develop this common resource but to build a small army of family members who can take the job onto the next (and the next) generation. This requires we agree some common rules. If you don't like the rules then please suggest improvements, they will be gratefully received. We need consensual rules. If you are interested in helping develop the resource, or even taking responsiblity for some part of it then please ask.