Integration is important. First, the forum and even the forum instance have to be welcoming to genealogists for them to want to participate. Although technically-inclined folks and previous members of LDS Tech Forums have participated on this instance, not many of our genealogically-inclined users are doing so. When we asked them why, we received the following answers:
- "When I follow the link from FamilySearch Wiki to the forum, I see a site that is titled 'LDS Tech Forums.' I'm not a techie or a programmer. It feels like this is not the place to leave my feedback on how genealogical information on FamilySearch Wiki should be organized/built/displayed."
- "It seems like a lot of the discussions on the FamilySearch Wiki forum are really technical. I don't feel like these discussions are for a genealogist like me."
- "The forum requires me to create another account before I can post. Then when I join, I have to wait for the system to send me an e-mail so I can verify my address. Then even after I do that, there is a long delay before I can post to a forum. By then I've forgotten what I was going to suggest. If you really want my feedback, make it easy for me -- don't make me have to register."
- "I thought the wiki was about research advice? Why don't you have any forums where I can ask a research question?"
- It is skinned like FamilySearch Wiki. Users who follow the link from the wiki to the forums will feel like they are still in the same environment run by the same people.
- Its title doesn't contain the word "Tech," so it'll tend not to scare off genealogists.
- On the new instance, we can add forums about how to do genealogy. That subject is outside the scope of LDS Tech Forums.
- We are working on single sign on between the wiki and the forums so people won't have to double-register or login twice.
- We have total control over admin settings, which will help us alter forum names, categories, and many other elements to suit our users.
Manager, Research Support
Worldwide Support Division
Family History Dept.