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MyHeritage doesn't understand the rules of politeness ...
François Edouard Cellier
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This morning, I started adding shadow records to my tree.  These are records of family members that are not true records, but rather pointers to other family trees, something similar to the links that are being established automatically through the smart matches, but a bit more personal, in that I can offer information as to what type of information our family members may find on these other trees.

I added the email addresses of the persons maintaining these other trees to the shadow records as "contact information."

My Heritage then automatically (without informing me about it!) sent out a welcoming message to those "new members" of my website.  What bothers me is that such a message was sent to another person living in Switzerland.  Therefore, that message was sent in German ... and the message, which MyHeritage claimed came from me, was written in the familiar "Du" form, whereas I am on "Sie" terms with that individual.  This is embarrassing!

--François Cellier

François Edouard Cellier
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RE: MyHeritage doesn't understand the rules of politeness ...
Esther Weinberg
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Hi Francois, 

Thank you for writing to us.

When you add an email to the contact info in the family tree, the member is invited to your site.  

We apologize for the inconvenience that you were not aware of this earlier.

Regarding the formality of the invitation email sent out, the emails are standard mails, and cannot be edited. What you can do is to send a mail to the user (through the MyHeritage inbox) and explain this.  

Best Regards,

Esther / MyHeritage Team 

Esther Weinberg
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RE: MyHeritage doesn't understand the rules of politeness ... [2]
François Edouard Cellier
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Thanks, Esther!  There isn't really any good answer.  I just wanted you guys (and gals) to be aware of the problem.

Unfortunately, politeness forms in different languages are difficult to handle appropriately in an automated fashion.  In German, there is a familiar "Du" form (like the extinct "thou" in English), and a formal "Sie" form (like the English "you").  In many languages, these different forms are disappearing or have already disappeared, but at least here in Switzerland, they are alive and well (in all four of our national languages).

If you address someone on "Du" terms whom you don't know very well and with whom you haven't previously agreed to use that form, you are insulting the person, because you express a lack of respect for him or her.  On the other hand, if you address a person with whom you are on "Du" terms afterward using the formal "Sie," this is an even bigger insult, because you are telling that person that s/he is no longer your friend.

Evidently, MyHeritage has no way of knowing, which form to use in any specific situation, and therefore, the process cannot be automated without causing potential problems.

In this particular circumstance, it wasn't so bad, because all of the people who were invited to my website without my knowledge are themselves managers of MyHeritage trees, and therefore, they realized perfectly well that the email hadn't come from me.

 --François

 

François Edouard Cellier
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RE: MyHeritage doesn't understand the rules of politeness ... [3]
Carolyn Madrid
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Francois,

That was a great explanation. It is ridiculous that Heritage takes it upon themselves to do all of this inviting. I think the paying customers should have more say on what is going on with their tree(s) they work so hard on. I'm glad the situation worked out well for you.

CM

Carolyn Madrid
Fountain, CO
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