16 July 2009

Changing the rules: GenealogyWise

GenealogyWise.com has changed the rules on its "contest," and may do so again, according to this early morning message from the company.

The rules are somewhat better and not focused on the goal of "grabbing" (quantification) as many members and posting as much as possible. The objective has changed to something more quality-oriented, which puts the responsibility on the page writer and poster for their own work, and not for their "organizing" ability.

Why the change? It seems the geneablogger community and others felt much the same way I did in my previous post. The feedback was not good and GenealogyWise responded quickly.

I am still wondering if the company will now decide to set up an advisory council of geneabloggers and other individuals who will ask the right questions before such events are announced, and thus avoid these type of incidents that come under my favorite category of "Yes, we can do such-and-such, but should we?"

It appears that something like that is in the works, as the contest will be judged by 10 members of the GenealogyWise community.

The new rules still offer $100 for each winner, but the categories are newly described as these:

Due to community feedback, the rules of the contest have been modified so that content contributed by members is more meaningful and of a higher quality:

- for the member with the highest quality blog posts.

- for the member with the highest quality videos shared.

- for the member with the highest quality forum posts.

- for the member with the highest quality photos uploaded (including descriptions).

- for the member with the highest quality surname group.

- for the member with the highest quality society group (historical or genealogical society).

- for the member with the highest quality other group (not surname or society group).

- for the member who has been the most helpful person to new members.
The message indicated that the corporate goal of the contest is to help members of this new social network get to know each other, and to encourage members to add valuable, relevant content to this new site. That's a good thing.

I was delighted to see this sentence: "GenealogyWise may disqualify any members who are 'gaming' the system, such as adding irrelevant or low-quality content." That's also good to know.

Somewhat disturbing, however, is the statement that "GenealogyWise reserves the ability to change the rules (again) if necessary."

I don't know about you, but I believe future events need to be thought out much more carefully. A game that keeps changing the rules mid-stream is just as annoying as one which isn't well-thought out before it is announced the first time.

Personally, I think this is opening another can of worms.

A better way would have been to just call this off for now, sit down, discuss ramifications and consequences and work out the final rules beforehand. Then announce it again when the proper groundwork has been set.

While both previous and new rules messages indicate contacting Debbie Anne Jackson for questions, the only email given is a general mail@.

Let's see what tomorrow's messages brings.

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