Proposal: Genealogy This proposal description is exactly the same as the Genealogy proposal that petered out before. What can be done to get it to work out better this time? Should it focus more on professionals? technology? specific region or family questions? Will there be more or better advertising?


A lot of people joining this are going to be new to Stack Exchange, and especially with the process of getting a new area going.

Each person joining needs to add some sample questions - not questions they would ask, but questions that reflect what the area will be about. They also need to vote for five of the existing questions, so that enough questions have at least ten votes.

At least, this is what I've gathered from the stats it reports. What might help is some specific instructions like that on the first page - a lot of those who've joined so far have just joined, thinking that's all they have to do, many haven't voted at all.

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    Yes. I'd also recommend using your 5 upvotes to vote up questions that haven't reached a score of 10 yet, because we need 40 of them. If you've upvoted one that has more than 10, remove it (by clicking the up arrow again) and change your vote to one with less than 10. That way, we'll hit the 40 as fast as possible. – lkessler Aug 28 '12 at 23:44
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    It would also assist if those who voted above 10 for a question, would visit the proposal again to do as Louis has explained re removal of vote and using it elsewhere. – Site Designs Sep 6 '12 at 21:00

Blake: Well we're trying again. We've got to make a more concerted effort at the beginning and get it going so that it doesn't peter out. A good question to ask is: "How many genealogists are there out there". I could believe that number to be in the tens of millions if not higher. Surely, that should be enough to support a StackExchange Q&A site. All we have to do is let them know and get their interest.

I think it should still be the average genealogist who will be interested in getting their questions answered. However, we definitely would want professional genealogists involved, as they should have some good answers to many questions. Really it's for everyone.

And topic-wise, the really nice thing about StackExchange Q&A sites and the way they work, is that you add tags to every question. So for a specific region, you tag it with the location. For family questions, tag it with the family name. The community (us) regulate ourselves and make sure the tags are consistent and useful. The search mechanism is fantastic, to find anything quickly - and the questions and answers get indexed very quickly on Google as well. So topic-wise, it should be open ended.

For advertising, we need to contact all the writers of genealogy newsletters and all the Geneabloggers and get them to let their readers know. It's got to be a viral thing, where one person lets the next know, and then it will happen. I've posted to my blog, and I'm doing what I can. Hopefully others will follow.

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    Have you contacted any Geneabloggers? If not, I might be able to help with that. – user42535 Aug 25 '12 at 14:43
  • @JustinY - Jill Ball is an active blogger, and she's now with us, and that's good. But no, I haven't specifically contacted bloggers individually, yet. But please do contact any you feel you can or want to. If they just hear from one person, it might not fully register with them. But if several different people they knew contacted them, and they started hearing about it everywhere, they'd then be hard pressed to at least not be curious. – lkessler Aug 25 '12 at 14:52
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    Thanks too for posting about this on your blog. Its a nice writeup that I can point others to. And it brought a good bit of traffic to this proposal. – user42535 Aug 25 '12 at 22:56

Looking at previous proposal, it failed in committment phase. It failed in all 3 components at committment.

Previous proposal scored 65% on committers - ie only 120 people committed (it needs 200). This component can be fixed by the other comments above in getting the word out.

Previous proposal scored 44% on committers with 200+ rep on other sites - ie only 44 of the 120 committed people had 200+ rep and it needed 100. Maybe getting the word out will help this but I am doubtful. I suspect we also need to have people work on getting their scores up as well. Ie maybe we will get lucky and there are geeks, photograhers, cooks etc who are interested in genealogy and already have high stackexchange scores in their other hobby. More likely, we will have to get those interested in genealogy to participate in the existing stackexchange forums to get their scores up. So all the committers (myself included) should join existing groups, ask/answer questions, etc.

We can also 'target' people in getting the word out - eg tell the findagrave and billiongraves crowds about this area51 site but also tell them to join the photography site. Conversely committers who are in these other groups (cooking, photography, python, etc) should promote genealogy within their group (ie point out the overlap like 'recipes from colonial times' and then get that subset interested in our group).

Previous proposal scored 42% on committment score which is a measure of how active the committers are on other sites. The previous 200+ is measuring how deep you are somewhere else and this one is measuring how broad you are and how active you are. Wrt to passing this on in future, I feel similar to last paragraph - getting the word out may not be enough. We'll need to work at it.

Can someone post how committers can get their scores higher so we meet the 200+ rep? I am one of those who needs to get mine higher to be able to help this proposal meet this criteria.

PS - I think one of the criteria is people liking your comments - so anyone reading this can help by hitting the up arrow next to this comment.

  • Actually, upvotes on answers here don't add to your rep. But if you post your 5 questions you're allowed to, you get 5 points for each upvote on them. All you need are 6 upvotes on each question (5 questions * 6 upvotes * 5 points) = 150 rep and anyone can get over 200 quite easily. What they don't want is people to just come, sign up, and then not do anything. Reputation on Area 51 is earned through proposals, commitments, example questions and referrals. It is explained near the bottom of the FAQ: area51.stackexchange.com/faq – lkessler Aug 26 '12 at 17:42
  • Whoops. I'm wrong here. I think you need 200+ rep on any StackExchange sites other than Area 51. So yes, it will be a problem. We get lots of people signing up with just 51 points by going to the general public. We'll need to target StackExchange people somehow ... not sure exactly how, though. – lkessler Aug 30 '12 at 3:15

I think a key helper would be to engage key geneabloggers (Randy Seaver, Dear Myrtle, Lisa Louise Cook, etc.) who answer a lot of questions to redirect the askers here. If, instead of answering a question directly, they could ask the person to post the question to Stack Exchange and commit to answer it publicly, there would be several benefits:

  1. they would be encouraging traffic and questions
  2. they would be contributing answers
  3. they could direct people in the future to the same answers rather than answering from scratch
  4. their answers would be "googleable" so that others might find the answer directly.
  • I've issued a Press Release prurgent.com/2012-08-26/pressrelease259274.htm but I think few have seen it. I also contacted several main bloggers, but only Dear Myrtle and Randy Seaver posted anything. I can't do this alone. We need everyone's help. Please contact the bloggers you use and let them know. Word of mouse works! – lkessler Aug 30 '12 at 3:21

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