Thursday, December 7, 2006

Rootsweb message boards have changed a bit

Hugh Watkins alerted us to the changes at Rootsweb message boards - they've changed the format of the boards - they look different - and they work a bit different too. Hopefully, some of the program "improvements" will be reversed, like the URLs in messages not being clickable.

I went and played a bit with some of the boards just to see how things changed. The major things I've noticed include:

1) You get a list of only 10 threads. If you try to get more threads (25 or 50 are offered), then you get a blank page - that needs to be fixed.

2) The "box" with the threads is only about 40% of the width of my screen, and the type is much smaller (increasing font size in IE7 View doesn't work on the font). This is cosmetic only, but may be a problem for those with vision problems.

3) When you click on a thread, you see the first message and a list of responses to the thread. The width of the text box limits how much you can see of many of the indented post titles.

4) If you click on the post submitter's name, then you can obtain the email address of the submitter, unless the submitter has not put a public profile on the Ancestry system. I haven't yet, but I will.

Hugh Watkins also called attention to the Rootsweb Newsroom page at This was the first I've heard about this - maybe I missed an announcement some time ago. I wonder why they keep things like this secret?

The Rootsweb Newsroom says that the changes made include:

** The RootsWeb message board URL is now The “old” URL’s will also still work.

** Registration is now required in order to post a message. This will help message authors keep their contact information
current and cut down on spam posted to the boards.

** The “Community Guidelines” have replaced the “Board Rules” as the “rules” for participation on the Message Boards.

** “My Notifications” has been renamed “My Alerts”.

** The board “Links & Announcements” have been renamed
“Board Information”.

** Clicking on a message author’s name will now take you
to their RootsWeb public profile (if they have one)

One of my "facts of life" is that "all progress requires change, but not all change is progress." Right now, this change doesn't seem like any progress, but I'm fairly confident that they will fix the problems that users will find. The message boards are still (IMHO) the absolute best way to find other researchers working on your surnames or families.


Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

I'm sure it hasn't been very long since I visited the boards, so this must be very new. Thanks for the heads-up.

I use Firefox and was able to see 50 messages at a time.

I miss being able to see who responded to a post without opening the initial post. Often I see a name and know that so & so already looked that up.

I found a post of mine and clicked on the submitter name and got this message!

"CharleyNY has chosen to use Ancestry’s connection service to remain anonymous. The connection service is a premium service from Ancestry, which requires basic membership with a minimal subscription fee.

Clicking the "Go to Ancestry Profile" button below will take you to CharleyNY's profile on Ancestry where you can click the "Contact this person" link to send a private, anonymous message through the connection service. "

I haven't had a subscription to ancestry in over three years. I have never filled out a profile there so I have no idea if anyone would be able to contact me by email or not. I was able to sign in with my old ancestry info and post, just as I always have and the notice did show up in my email.

Janice said...


Rootsweb's new message boards, and recent post about bedbugs on my blog, have a similarity--they both suck!