The biggest problem with nFS

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RonaldF-p40
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The biggest problem with nFS

Postby RonaldF-p40 » Sun Dec 09, 2007 4:46 pm

The biggest problem with nFS is the "user". A vast number of users will try to use nFS without learning the ins and outs of the system. They will point and click their way through the system until they find a relative that they can reserve. Then they will print a Family Ordinance Request and run off to the temple to do the work. Unless the person has diligently done a detailed search for all possible duplications and combined those duplications for each name they want to reserve, there is a high probability that the ordinances will be duplicated. Everyone should study the new FamilySearch user’s guide prior to reserving names or selecting them to be done by others. New FamilySearch is still a work in progress. The last released version was .91. It has not reached version 1 yet. It is still considered beta.

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greenwoodkl
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Postby greenwoodkl » Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:41 pm

Agreed. A few things should help:

1. If I remember right from many moons ago when I participated in nFS beta 2, I believe upon registration there is a "tour" of sorts that outlines the intent and process of merging duplicates somewhat.

2. Perhaps some additional training could come (if approved by appropriate Church leadership) in both the Church magazines and touched upon in General Conference similar to other program announcements such as Preach My Gospel.

3. Word of mouth help by those of us who know is always good. While there may be a transition period of continued duplication as users learn the system, over time and with help from those who are trained, those duplicates will "quickly" be merged and the benefits of nFS will become more consistent.

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Postby russellhltn » Sun Dec 09, 2007 7:50 pm

I haven't done it in the live version, but in the beta2, when you wanted to reserve a name, that triggered a search right then and there. So I don't see that as too big a problem. Yes, it's possible to duplicate the work by denying all of the results the search finds, but it's better then we have now.

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Postby RonaldF-p40 » Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:05 pm

RussellHltn wrote:I haven't done it in the live version, but in the beta2, when you wanted to reserve a name, that triggered a search right then and there. So I don't see that as too big a problem. Yes, it's possible to duplicate the work by denying all of the results the search finds, but it's better then we have now.

I just tried it, and I was able to reserve the name and progress all the way to the point of printing the FOR. The nFS did not make me check for duplicates. Is this a major bug or did I do something wrong. I selected a name that appeared on my tree. The baptism and confirmation was done. I choose to do the initiatory and endowment myself and followed the prompts up to the point of printing the FOR. No check for duplications occurred.

Another problem that I see is that once I selected to do the ordinances and progressed to the point of printing the FOR, I can not go back and change the status to let someone else do the ordinance. If the FOR has not been printed, I should be able to release the name for others to do.

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Postby garysturn » Wed Jan 16, 2008 6:50 pm

RonaldF wrote:I just tried it, and I was able to reserve the name and progress all the way to the point of printing the FOR. The nFS did not make me check for duplicates. Is this a major bug or did I do something wrong. I selected a name that appeared on my tree. The baptism and confirmation was done. I choose to do the initiatory and endowment myself and followed the prompts up to the point of printing the FOR. No check for duplications occurred.

Another problem that I see is that once I selected to do the ordinances and progressed to the point of printing the FOR, I can not go back and change the status to let someone else do the ordinance. If the FOR has not been printed, I should be able to release the name for others to do.


The instructions in the nFS users guide states that when you select an ordinance to perform, nFS does a search of all ordinances to look for duplicates, it does not check for other duplicates only Temple ordinances in this check. If it would have found any you would have had them displayed for you. While you have a name reserved you can still make changes to the information and do more merges and they will apply to the name that you have reserved. If you do more searches and happen to find other Temple ordinances and combine them they will show up for the person in the reserved list. If all ordinances get combined it will drop out of the reserved list.

You can release the name to the Temple File and it will remain in nFS until a Temple picks it up, so if someone else reserves if before a Temple picks it up they can then do the work. It would be nice if there were an option to release a name back to nFS without sending it to the Temple File.
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ClarkeGJ
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"We are are enlisted" to reduce duplication

Postby ClarkeGJ » Thu Jan 17, 2008 9:29 am

Hopefully the training and priesthood leadership that is a part of the roll-out temple by temple district will promote the responsibility that we all have. .92 is going into beta January 23rd. 1.0 version is reserved for when the site is public for non-members.
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huffkw
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How big is the task?

Postby huffkw » Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:02 am

RonaldF wrote:The biggest problem with nFS is the "user". A vast number of users will try to use nFS without learning the ins and outs of the system. .... Then they will print a Family Ordinance Request and run off to the temple to do the work. Unless the person has diligently done a detailed search for all possible duplications and combined those duplications for each name they want to reserve, there is a high probability that the ordinances will be duplicated. .



Can somebody help me with an estimate of the scale of the manual effort needed to remove all duplicates from the nFS database? Here is one disheartening calculation I tried. I hope I have my estimated parameters wrong.

If there are about 750 million names in the nFS database of ordinances, and the number of duplicates is in the 500 million range, with perhaps 250 million unique names left when the smoke clears, and it takes a careful user 30 minutes to do the compression of all duplicates on one name (and to take any other corrective steps needed at that point), that means there are about 125 million hours of manual effort to be done. If there are 100,000 Church member genealogists each putting in 10 hours a year on this project (or 10,000 doing 100 hours a year), totaling 1 million hours a year, that means it would take 125 years to complete. If members actually add to the duplicates because they do not understand or are discouraged by the process, then the problem takes even longer to fix. Members being conscientious about nFS duplicate reduction could mean that nearly all new research stops for decades. If my numbers are anywhere near reality, we might not want to expect too much success too soon. My alternate approaches to database logic to encourage new research, described elsewhere in this LDSTech Forum, arise partially out of these kinds of concerns about implied scale of effort.

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Postby emrolgould » Sat Jan 26, 2008 7:08 am

huffkw wrote: that means there are about 125 million hours of manual effort to be done.


Luckily we have 1,000 years to finish it. :D

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Postby russellhltn » Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:48 pm

I'm not sure as I agree with the guesstimates.

Something to keep in mind, that where much of the duplication has been done, it's because that's where most of the church membership is. The ones most likely duplicated are the pioneers. But they have the most genealogists working on the problem.

Another factor is that the first genealogist on a name is going to be the one with all the headaches. The ones following won't need as much time to do the checking.

Last, do we really need to combine all the names that fast? Is there a need to combine the duplicate temple work? If not, then the complexity goes way down. If we combine AF, PRF and personal submissions with the relevant IGI entries to show the work is done, that's is enough to prevent duplicates moving forward. Yes, there will be a number of IGI records that will be left hanging, but if they are duplicates, they are of no importance.

One of the things I see in nFS is that it's not trying to clean the existing data to perfection. (An extremely time consuming task.) But rather it's a "How do we move forward from here" solution. That's not the normal way I try to approach databases, but in this case, I can see it's the right one.

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huffkw
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Alternate optimizations

Postby huffkw » Sat Jan 26, 2008 10:27 pm

My main observation is that there is more than one way to do things, and the best method to choose depends on what you want to emphasize. I think most would agree that today’s system is optimized for removing duplicates from old research, a very large task. When database confusion levels go down because duplicates are down, the system can also eventually help Church members to add new data to that existing structure of past Church member research. In the meantime, I expect members doing new research will often choose not to use the current nFS system as a repository for their new work product. They might fear being caught in a thicket of unexpected work before they can proceed.

If at some point the original duplicate-reduction goals seem less compelling, it might be time to consider whether to provide a different mechanism, optimized to encourage new cooperative research by everyone worldwide, without the strong emphasis on past Church member research. (Ancestors of Church members are probably only a tiny portion of the people appearing in the world’s records.)

For worldwide use, effective cooperation could easily begin from any set of names, with no special need or advantage to finding a family link into Church ancestors. Only the best data offered would be selected for further enhancement. The rest, including most duplicates, could be ignored. The Church member genealogist maintenance work load could drop greatly, and the Church database would probably be used by up to 40 times more people, sharing their work product in a mutually advantageous system.

Is anyone willing to consider in detail the strengths and weaknesses of alternate methods, or are we locked into one method for the next few years?


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