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Please Explain the Value of Smart Matches
Tom Gray
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When I first started using FTB, I was a bit excited about the Smart Match thing.

After a while, though, I found that the places to which I matched were poorly researched, totally undocumented, often just plain wrong.   I wrote the the people managing those sites and asked, "How do you know that X was the father of Y?  What documentation do you have for X and Z marrying on such a date?"

The usual answer was, "I got it from a smart match with somebody else."   In other word, a copy of a copy of a copy...maybe somewhere, somebody has done some research or checked some original sources, but how do you know?

Lately, any smart match I check, I find that I've got more data, and more accurate info, than any of the matches.  I've even found a few with data and photos that obviously came from my site (not that they bother to attribute those photos to me!)

So tell me, what's the point of smart matches?   Hunting them down and confirming them seem to me to be a total waste of time.   Am I missing something?

Tom Gray
Canada
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2
RE: Please Explain the Value of Smart Matches
Site Manager
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Tom Gray wrote:

When I first started using FTB, I was a bit excited about the Smart Match thing.

After a while, though, I found that the places to which I matched were poorly researched, totally undocumented, often just plain wrong.   I wrote the the people managing those sites and asked, "How do you know that X was the father of Y?  What documentation do you have for X and Z marrying on such a date?"

The usual answer was, "I got it from a smart match with somebody else."   In other word, a copy of a copy of a copy...maybe somewhere, somebody has done some research or checked some original sources, but how do you know?

Lately, any smart match I check, I find that I've got more data, and more accurate info, than any of the matches.  I've even found a few with data and photos that obviously came from my site (not that they bother to attribute those photos to me!)

So tell me, what's the point of smart matches?   Hunting them down and confirming them seem to me to be a total waste of time.   Am I missing something?

 

Absolute waste of time; matching a tree gives you another place to look but it is not a citation. It's just another place to look, I Just spent the last hour deleting 600 source files, which aren't sources but matches to get them off the grid. Now my tree is 100% sourced with no ussourced garbage from smart matches.

 

I really don't care at this point to "smart match" with anybody unless it's cited, sourced and documented. Otherwise it's just crap.

A smart match is not a source, right now I have on my screen 27,188 Smart Matches, in 7,460 matching family trees.  I am not going through them unless they are sourced.  It's a Joke.

Site Manager
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3
RE: Please Explain the Value of Smart Matches [2]
Daniel D.
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Hi Everyone,

The point of smart matching is both to supply you with more information with potential family links and to make a contact between families.

We are working to improve the accuracy of the smart matching system and we have had some success, we have reached up to 97% accuracy in our labs. So hopefully that update will ensure that everyone will get their accurate results.

As for sources and citations and credible source - that is all in dependant on the family researcher. Some are more accurate in their works than others. Once you get matched up with another researcher you can write to him and ask him what kind of work is he doing - pure genealogy or just general family research as a hobby?

We are also working on improving the system regarding the user experience. We wrote down all of your suggestions, ideas and comments and we thank you so much for staying with us!

Daniel D.
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4
RE: Please Explain the Value of Smart Matches
qbuster
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SmartMatching is not only a great feature that offers much, it is also a phenominal wast of time and needs to be the subject of a serious revew by MH.

Apart from the issue of overall accuracy, what I find most irritating is that so many members have several versions of their trees and I seem to be forever Confirming/Rejecting the same profiles. I think I can see why people ceate different versions of the same basic tree (maternal & paternal ancestors and in-laws have their own versions) but for the purposes of SmartMatching this only increases the vital workload of the very process that most of us saw originally as a way of finding new links.

As it is now, I wonder how many people never bother to Confir,/Reject simply because the sheer number of matches is so daunting.

 

As others have suggested (in this thread and others over the years), members need to have a way that one can refine/filter the SM process. For example -

        * don't even show me anything that is less than an xx% match. 

* Force all members to nominate one - and only ony one - tree that participates in the SmartMatching process (I wouldn't mind betting that this would not only very significantly reduce the number of matches but would also speed up the process)

* It is is not enough to either Confirm or Reject - there should at least be an option that bounces the Match back to the owner asking for more information

* Lets have a check box selection process. In my experience one can't use the Confirm or Reject All options and one is forced to go through each Match manually. Why not have a check box against each profile and an option to Confirm/Reject all checked items?

 Regards

 Will Chapman 

qbuster
Alrewas, Staffordshire
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5
RE: Please Explain the Value of Smart Matches
P. Hartman
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I worry about this, too, and am overwhelmed by the volume of probably useless smartmatches.  I would like there to be other options for handling these matches so I can get rid of many of them without either confirming or rejecting.  I'd like there at least to be an IGNORE or ELIMINATE option.  If I know a branch on my tree is flimsy, I don't want to confirm a match.  That just lends it too much false credibility. But at the same time, I don't want to reject it, if it's obviously talking about the same alleged twig on the branch.  If I don't choose one or the other--confirm or reject--the match just sits there cluttering up my smartmatches list.  It would also be nice to have an option accompanying the CONFIRM button that adds, I have documentary evidence that I'm willing to tell you where to find.
P. Hartman
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6
<This post was deleted>
Deleted member
7
RE: Please Explain the Value of Smart Matches [2]
Athol Geoffrey Stewart
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I completely agree. But I don't have any good ideas about how to have the benefits of SmartMatching, which has enabled me to find hundreds of relations, without the problems you have so well described.

I did suggest some time back that we should be able to put, say, a big green question-mark 'watermark' on any member 'card' or 'profile' while uncertain of the validity of information. That won't solve the problem but should help a lot.

I am currently researching a new family with heaps of discrepancies and I am checking ALL of them (that are old enough to be 'historical') against the details from the Victorian Birth Death and Marriage historical index for that surname. Only cost five dollars, fortunately the name is not common so I got the whole hundred or so entries for that. I am recording the details and the source in the Notes for all to see. And I will have to do something the same for my main tree.

Thank you for raising this problem.   Geoff

Athol Geoffrey Stewart
Australia
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