New FamilySearch, Slow to Make Improvements

May 12, 2011   //   by Shoebox   //   Blog  //  No Comments

FamilySearch’s family tree program, commonly called New FamilySearch, has just revealed the updates that will soon appear in its regular quarterly update this May, 2011. 

The last several quarterly updates have focused around several minor features – adding the discussions feature, a proposed move from disputes to discussions, and making the site non-LDS friendly. This latest quarterly update adds no major fixes, features, or functions.  It follows in the tradition of the updates of the past year by making just one or two minor tweaks.

The “What’s New” document, which can be found after logging in at http://ftbeta.familysearch.org reveals the following updates: 

New Features as of May 2011
Starting in the May 2011 release, all previously entered disputes are automatically being moved to the discussions. Once moved, the former disputes will be collected in a discussion that is titled “Legacy Disputes.”
You May Still See Some Disputes
The disputes are being moved by an automated process. This process will begin soon after the May 2011 release. It will take several weeks to complete. This process will remove disputes individual by individual. Therefore, you may see some disputes until this process finishes.
If you find a dispute that you entered and the automated process has not yet moved it, you can still remove the dispute yourself. You can also edit the note associated with the dispute. If you find a dispute that is preventing corrections, check this record in a few days or weeks, after the automated process has had more time to run. Once the dispute is moved, you might be able to make the corrections.
Where to Find Former Disputes in Discussions
After an individual’s disputes have been moved to his or her discussions, they will appear in a discussion that is titled “Legacy Disputes.”

While a nice feature, and one that’s been talked about for some time, it sure does little to fix the main problems facing New FamilySearch. While disputes can be inconvenient, the lack of an adequate source citation system, source image linking, source image uploading, historical and biographical structure, and research/conclusion system are really the kinds of problems that doom New FamilySearch to the same fate as Ancestral File.  As far as basic functionality, the ability to remove false data, change incorrect genders, or adequately and effectively seperate combined individuals remain off the table.

New FamilySearch began with ambitious goals and fire in their blood.  Now it seems the quarterly updates become less and less significant, and resources are being funneled to other projects.  I would love to see New FamilySearch reach every one of those ambitious goals, but their current pace reveals the internal problems at hand.  The drive has left them, the dreamers and do-ers have been hired away by bigger companies, and what remains is an un-finished program and a diminished band of programmers doing their best to keep the ship sailing.

I hope that the programmers have been busy on wonderful new additions that will begin to appear at any moment.  The rumors of source citation systems and source image linking have been swirling for years, but we’ve seen no results.  Projects that were slated for a week or two have taken 6 months to implement.  Please prove me wrong, FamilySearch, I hope the fire is still alive, but I’m beginning to doubt.

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