Seems to me that questions are being bounced back and forth and replied to and whilst that is a good and healthy exercise- it may be flawed on the basis of ignornance or perception out of balance with the facts.
Myheriatge should intervene here when information is given or advice sought- Surley the best people to answer working issues are myheriatge- but are thay asleep?
I hope you dont mean that Myheritage shall prohibit all users to give advices. Since it seems that Myheritage is not a 24/7 company and has international users it can take quite a while befor an official answer/advice is given. If you consider the cost for a PremiumPlus membership (approx $120 per year) it take quite alot of members to cover the personel cost for both development and support, especially if they need to be present 24/7 and cover all languages. My employer (works with electronic design) pays $30000 in support fee per license for the software we use and the problems are not solved any faster.
Also, this is a forum and not helpdesk and therefor you have to accept that users answer questions and that is also the whole idea with a forum where you can place your questions and vent ideas and hopefully Myheritage monitor it all and take actions if an suggestion or a problem is risen. If an advice is given by an user it would be nice if Myheritage can verify that the advice was correct and of course correct it if it is wrong.
I will gladly take an advice from an user if it helps me. If I have planed to work with my research a weekend and get stuck on friday evening I will get an answer from Myheritage at earliest monday and my weekend is destroyed.
Since there are many international users which have not english as their native language it can be hard to place a question which is correctly understood. I come from Sweden and I want to beleive my english is good enough to both place questions and advices in english. Saying that I also know that when I have a more complicated question I place it in swedish only to see that it is translated to english by Myheritage with a computer translator (Google or similar) which can give quite funny results.
What I miss here is a Q&A section moderated by Myheritage where they can place common questions with proper answers and where we dont have access to place posts. As it is now q&a are drowned by a mix of suggestions, new questions on already answered questions and so on. It can also be hard to find answers by search when you dont know what you shall search for especially if you are "non-english".
When we (at least I) write messages on internet (email, posts) we tend to write it in short sentences which easily can be interpreted as rude. I hope I'm not offending anyone because that was not my intension.
Your understanding of the situation is pretty accurate. Indeed we don't have the resources give a quick answer to every post. Moreover, sometimes we don't know the answer, and need to do some research first.
Regarding what you said about a Q&A session, we have that over here:
Agreed. Sometimes the simplest questions are met with information already available as if they don't even understand what the question was. Don't know which is worse. No answer, or answers which don't help, and should be obvious to anyone who understands English. They make the actual facts difficult to find, then when a question arises, link to a fact which I already knew. That I already knew it should be obvious based on the actual question I asked.
Actually, I think some of us are askig for help regarding things they don't know the answer to, but should have been made known to the employees, if not to subscribers. Funny, there have been a lot of suggestions for features which should have been obvious. It shouldn't have to be requested, because it should have been there from the start. At least it shouldn't take them 5 years to be told that it's desirable, if not essential, for effeciency. Take for instance being able to connect to people within the tree. I am not sure when it happened, but at first, the ability to connect another person was not there. IF you had a large tree which wound around and you discovered that a person you found was already on the tree, you just had to have them on the tree twice. I can tell you that I would not have been a member for very long if that limitation had been in effect when I started.
One problem I have noticed seems to be that they have devoted more resources to FTB(which they have admitted). A cheap workaround for basic members should not be FTB. Heck, ancestry.com even makes you pay for their version no matter what level subscription you have. As you know from previous discussions, basic members don't tend to spend much time on the site. They really don't have any reason to. 250 people isn't many and many basic trees that I have come across don't even come close to that. To do it right, make the website as easy to use and with as many features as possible. The website should have AT LEAST as many features as FTB.
I'll be happy to shed some light on issues you may have questions with (if I can).
Do you want to share your questions with me?
Specifically, I'd like to mention a few things:
a) Many times the support team isn't aware of the proficiency level of the person writing. You might get questions from the team that seem elementary to you, but for the support person who is trying to build a case to prove to the QA team that there really is a bug, etc. it's very important to have all the information from the ground up.
Sometimes our language differs. You might call the page where you view the Smart Matches the tree view page. But we know that page as the Compare page and for us, Tree View is the page where you view the family tree. So again, we need to ask seemingly stupid questions in order to clarify.
And sometimes we just don't know the answer. The support team has to be 100% familiar with all of MyHeritage's products and services, what's going on with QA and R&D and product development, it also has to know what your problems and requests are and many times you are the first ones to report a bug that we've never seen before (which is great) - in short we have a LOT of information we need to be aware of all the time and sometimes we don't know the answer off the bat.
b) There are features that we would all like to see implemented. As I mentioned on another post it might seem like nothing has changed or we're not actually implementing new features that you request, but we make a lot of changes all the time, many you might not even see or feel. We really are working hard to improve our products and services and use many of your suggestions. Family Tree Builder 5.3 actually had many fixes in it that were reported by you.
c) I'm not sure where you heard that we are investing more in FTB than other services, but I wouldn't agree with that at all. We're working hard on a brand new HTML5 version of the online family tree and many other improvements to the online services we offer.
I hope this information gives you a little view what's going on at MyHeritage.
I have mentioned this before. In FTB In Tools > Options > Names, in the Parameters for "Empty first name", "Empty last name" and "Empty full name", could an extra option be added, entitled "Not Known"? For "Empty first name" have "Not Known", "Empty last name "NOT KNOWN" and "Empty full name" a combination of "Not Known NOT KNOWN".
The reason I would like this option is that I am the Webmaster of my own site (NOT in Myheritage) and the program I use to generate the web pages from a GEDCOM file does not recognise "Unknown", it list those entries as "?" (without the quotes), however it does recognise "Not Known/NOT KNOWN". I requested this some 12 or so months ago, but had no reply.
Also I recently added to the forum in either FTB or Smart Matches (not sure which) re not being able to acess ONE of my family trees in Smart Matches. It had something to do with email address I registered with, and since changed to a new email adress for which I notified MyHeritage,and it being accepted, however the old email address is still being recognised when I do a smart match on one particular tree. The original post was about 11 months ago, and I brought it up again in about the last 3 or 4 weeks. Sorry I can't be more specific.
I take it that means the "Not Known" & "NOT KNOWN" will be added as options in the name settings?
Yes Noam has been very helpful. I have not had a chance to try out his latest advice as yet. I will hopefully get around to it in the next few days.
I would also like to add that the support in regards to things I have requested or asked about has been very good. Perhaps other users that "complain" don't have much patience! As I explained to Noam, I would love to upgrade, but being on a fixed income I can't afford that luxury. It is the same with another well known genealogy provider, (who shall remain anonymous - did I spell that right?) who I originally got a lot of information from, but when their services became popular they decided to charge for the privelege!
I'll explain how living people in the tree are handled and how that pertains to Smart Matching. I'm going to explain things from the basics for the benefit of everyone viewing this post. If you're already aware of some of this information I hope you'll understand my reasons for doing so.
1. Privacy settings apply to a family site. Since you can have more than one family tree on a family site at MyHeritage the privacy settings you choose will apply to all of the trees on that site.
2. You can set a family site to have Public, Mixed or Private privacy levels.
Public allows anyone to enter the site and view the tree.
Private is the opposite - only people you invite can enter with a password and email address.
Mixed is a combination of the two - guests can enter the site, but they see limited information about people in the tree, people you invite enter with an email address and password can see the whole tree.
3. Mixed privacy settings are the default for family sites. If you never changed the privacy settings on your family site, then this setting is what you've got. Mixed settings hide sensitive information about living individuals in the tree, such as first names, birth dates, addresses, etc. The Mixed privacy setting applies for guests who come to view the family tree.
Now, on to Smart Matching...
4. Matches are performed on your entire tree - including living individuals. If a match is found between two names in the tree, even if your site is marked as private, we display the name of the matched person ONLY. If you both have that person in your tree, then it's not a secret for either of you who that person is.
5. The compare page of Smart Matches at MyHeritage show the person you got a match with together with surrounding individuals like mother, father, children, siblings, etc. In the case that we show you a match of a living individual we DO NOT show the names of the surrounding individuals (unless of course you also have matches with those people). Absolute privacy for names of living individuals applies here.
6. It's always possible to turn off Smart Matching. This can be done in the Family Tree > Manage Trees page of your family site. "Edit tree settings" is where you can turn off Smart Matches. You can also get there on the Family Tree > Smart Matches page. Smart Matching settings are per tree so if you have more than one tree on your family site and want to turn off Smart Matches altogether, then make sure to change the settings for all trees.
At this point there isn't a setting that allows you to choose to match only deceased persons, but we can definitely consider adding it as an option.
You're getting the smart matches from other trees, or they are getting it from yours? I don't recall ever getting a smart match with a living person, but if you are, I don't think getting a match to a living person would work any differently from getting one with a dead person. In fact, I've copied living people from other trees, and other people have copied from mine, but I still don't think we've gotten smart matches for them. I'll go back and check.
Thanks Eric. The matches I am talking about came from another tree and matched to living people in my tree. It bothers me because 1) I have no right to be giving or taking information on living people as I do not have their permission and 2. My family information is not safe at all when I have promised them it will be.
I have just checked my privacy settings and I am set for "mixed". I had read somewhere that this setting does not include living family members, do you know Eric?
I'm sorry, I don't know the asnswer to that. As far as I know, my family tree is as open as it can be. I have no problem with people taking my info. It's as reliable as I can get. If it helps people then great. If it winds up as part of some nonsense on ancestry.com, then so be it.
I would have to say that there are some living people that I am REALLY concerned about too.
But I undersdtand the nature of YOUR concern.
What I dont understand is how to identify the living from the not living- I dont see that flaged on my FTB so how would anyone knwo if the indivdual is living or not- or is it just for your own peace of mind.
What I have heard, the reason of the Unknown is because the tree has multi language support (FTB) but the owner has only filled in one of them and missed the setting to automatically copy info from one language to the other if one is left empty.
The problem is that it probably looks OK for the tree owner.
I ponder the smartmatch capabilty that matches data to a tree that has not been updated for many years.
Does myheritage assume that one day the owner will respond.
What I cant get my head around is- if a tree is out of date by more than the current subscription limit (say 1 or 2 years) then the Owner CANT confirm or reject the smatmatch becuse they are unfinancial and have no access.
So it CANNOT be that "one day it may happen" sounds to me like a lapsed catholic with the view that if we wait long enough they will return.
Personally I think that bunkum and the sooner myheritage get their ship into line and BAN out of date trees the better the service. (might be)
Its just folly for myheriatge to think they have 500 million members world wide with 690 thousdand nine hundred trillion smart matches- when in reality- there are far far fewer and more and more an more aggitated aand agrievated users.
I agree with the 5 years subscription concept, but we know who those two are- what about the OTHER 3 million subscribers who only EVER bought a ONE year deal- they are the target of my concern.
The number of 5 year subscriptions would at a guess have to be in lower percentile of total subscriptions. Therefore we should make recomendations and have procedures in place for the highrer percentile of normal 1 or 2 year subscriptions.