Talk:Belgium Civil Registration

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User:MarkhamMJ, we evidently disagree about how the content of this page should be arranged, and we should try and reach consensus to avoid edit wars.

My opinion is that historical background must come first, followed by the section on what the records actually contain. Users need to know what the records are before they can think about whether they should try to access them, and if so, how. Starting the page with a list of links only overwhelms them. See the pages for Netherlands_Civil_Registration and Germany_Civil_Registration In the section on accessing the records, the content about the online copies at FamilySearch and the Belgian State Archives should be first, as this is the easiest and most commonly used method. GeneaKnowHow and writing to archives (which applies only to post-1915 records), should be last.

I don't see the need the need for a separate coverage and compliance section. We can add to either the historical background or information about the records section that coverage was close to 100%.

Thank you for fixing my error where I accidentally deleted the references.

If I don't hear from you within a week, I will revert the page back to how it was on 24 August(with the references included).

--Av85647 (talk) 20:47, 25 August 2020 (MDT)

Thank you for your contributions and suggestions regarding the content of this page. User MarkhamMJ is on the FamilySearch Wiki team and is adjusting the format of this page based on direction from Wiki management. As management, we have finalized an approved, standardized layout of information on different topic pages across the countries in the Wiki, including Civil Registration. This is intended to improve user experience, as previously the layout of our content on similar topic pages varied greatly from country to country, and confused our users. We simply want to standardize the order of information displayed on these pages, so we decided to follow a pattern on each country.
Your suggestions about organizing the information in an academic way to teach the user the background, what the record includes, and then how to access the record is a respected way of presenting information especially in published books. When we began our Wiki in 2008, very little was known about writing for the internet and our paper publications were added to all the pages as is. The first layout of this page as you described, is how most of the Wiki was designed because that was all we knew.
However, we’ve learned much since 2008 concerning how users digest information on websites and about their intent when searching for information. The decision to add “How to Find the Records” to the top of the Civil Registration pages was made after analyzing results from user testing. We found a majority of our users come to these pages primarily to access the records quickly. They do not want to wade through the additional information regarding use and background on the record type because they already know that information. Moving it to the top of the page, assists those users in addition to helping new Wiki users find the online collections they are looking for.
That essential information to understanding the record type and what it includes is still on the page and can be easily accessed by using the table of contents. One thing we have learned time and time again as we have user test, is that people want to search first, then if they get stuck or have a question as to what they find, they will come back and search for answers on the pages. With this new design we are meeting that need.
The rest of the headings, including Coverage and Compliance, as well as the order of those headings, were determined by our subject matter experts at FamilySearch. This is the finalized order of headings we have decided on, as we feel it best presents the key information about a record set in a way that is easiest to navigate.
As with so many things, there are many ways to present information – no way is perfect nor is one way preferred by all. And one way is not necessarily the right or only way to do things. We do the best we can at FamilySearch to meet the needs of most of our users, and to do that a decision had to be made to move forward to achieve that goal. We respect you desire to have the information listed as before. However, we must move forward in standardizing and updating our pages to the new format to provide a better experience.
Sincerely, Danielle Batson, FamilySearch Wiki Content Manager, Batsondl (talk) 12:15, 28 August 2020 (MDT)

1. There is nothing wrong with standardization, but decisions about it should be made in a collaborative way, rather than being imposed by the more senior editors. In most Wikis, they would be an online discussion about these things that any editor in good standing can contribute to.

2. Could you please refer to the Rule or Policy of the Wiki that allows FHL employees to override other editors.

3. I participate regularly in the GetSatisfaction forum, and I can tell you there is increasing frustration among some users about the Wiki. These users wish to share their expertise but are discouraged when more "senior" editors keep reverting their edits for reasons that are not laid out in clear Rules and Policies of the Wiki. I personally have heavily reduced my edits, after making thousands of edits over 5 years.

If FS wants to publish their own genealogical encyclopedia, that is fine, but please do not misleadingly call it a Wiki. An organisation that creates a Wiki receives the benefit of the contributions of many editors in return for accepting they have little control over the content as long as it abides by Rules they set. If FS doesn't want to do that, I have no objections, provided you stop calling this resource a Wiki and explain to editors very carefully that there is hierarchy of editors and that senior editors can override their edits and do whatever they like with the content they generously donate to FS.

--Av85647 (talk) 15:29, 28 August 2020 (MDT)

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