Saturday, December 9, 2006

More problems at Rootsweb message boards

I posted on Thursday about the more visible problems at the Rootsweb / Ancestry message boards. After two more days of random playing with the system, there are other issues - more than I noted before. And there are some things that are pretty good.

My new observations:

1) When you click on the post submitter name, you may get an email address (as an image) of a non-Ancestry subscriber. If the submitter is an Ancestry subscriber then you can click on the Public Profile link and see their profile and email, if they have chosen to let you see it.

I decided I would make a public profile on Friday - and I did, with a picture, some notes, lots of detail. I worked 30 minutes on it.

The damn thing is gone today at 10 AM PST - poof! My public profile is blank (Gee, maybe I am just a figment of their imagination? Heck, I paid up.). Humph. So I wrote their HelpDesk a nasty-gram. Now I'll never have a public profile, I fear.

UPDATE: At 10:52 AM PST, the Public Profile is there. Perhaps they were worknig on thier servers or something.

2) The list of recent threads on a given message board still takes up about 40% of my screen width. They modified the list of thread titles so you can see the entire subject line, rather than a truncated single line. And they fixed the user-selected number of threads to list - you can choose 10, 25 or 50. I chose 25.

3) On a given message board, the threads are listed by the date of the last post on each thread, rather than the date of the first post of the thread. I like this.

4) If you click on a thread list, you can choose to see "flat view" (which is the content of each reply) or "thread view" (which is just the title of the replies, indented as required. I like the "flat view."

5) I also input over 40 "favorite" message boards yesterday - and these were saved (go figure?). I input message boards for both surnames and localities - the ones I visit on occasion. Using this, I don't have to save a bunch in my Favorites list on Internet Explorer. However, my list of favorites is not alphabetized - they look randomly placed. The county boards are not identified by state. I would prefer that they be alphabetized by surname and then by state/county.

6) One of the major complaints I've heard is that you cannot, at this time, click on the post submitter and see what other posts they have written on all Ancestry/Rootsweb message boards. This was very useful to many researchers, as it provided more insight into the research capabilities and surnames that the person was searching.

Check Hugh Watkins blog for more observations about the Ancestry/Rootsweb changes.

In addition to the Rootsweb Newsroom blog I linked to on Thursday, there is also an "Ancestry Improvements" message board at There are many complaints there also, most of them valid IMHO.

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