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A lot of people (I, for one) have wanted a monthly workshop chat were we can collaborate on work in progress and put together questions and answers to sum up solutions. An informal medium to break down those persistent barriers is very useful not only to newer genealogists, but the pros as well. Everyone has their own areas of expertise and lending advice and experience in those areas can be extremely beneficial to others.

Hop on over the first Saturday of the month and give and get some advice on specific problems.


The chat will occur in its own room all Saturday long the first Saturday of each month. Be sure to register yourself to get a reminder.

If you have any ideas for future topics, post them as answers to Weekly genealogy chat topics - now a week long event! and they might be used in an upcoming week!

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Over at the GIS Stack Exchange many of the GIS highest voted Questions are owned by the Community Wiki user and that "multi-author" style of Q&A has been used over 260 times there

The Community Wiki is yet to be used here and so it remains absent from our GFH highest voted Questions.

I raise this, not necessarily as an advocate of the Community Wiki, but because I think that when Chat is used to "collaborate on work in progress and put together questions and answers to sum up solutions", it may be an ideal way to bring the results of those chats back to the Main Q&A part of the site, and help us graduate Beta sooner.

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I've posted two questions recently that don't seem like good SE-style questions. The first in particular has generated a lot of discussion, to the point where SE now prompts me to move the discussion to chat instead of leaving another comment.

For the sake of the beta, does it make more sense to move these to chat? Could other "too discussion-y" questions be good seeds for workshop chats?

Organizing Research: brief subscriptions or research trips

The embedded question 'how can I scrape my download history' and my self-answer is really more appropriate for something like SO (I did search there before posting here, but didn't see anything at that time which would have solved the problem). The larger question of how others here organize blitz-style searching call for 'these are the solutions which exist' answers which aren't really the SE way.

Finding parish marriage records, where the real answer to the question is, if I and ordered the GRO certificates, I would know which parish was involved (if any), and I've created a brick wall for myself by not wanting to spend the money ordering the certificates (Arthur and Fanny's marriage, and their eldest daughter's birth). But now we're just nibbling away at working the problem, which does seem more appropriate for chat.

If I were dictator of SE, I would create a third area (comparable to Meta) which could act as a Q/A purgatory for questions like this. It would be a place to park the Q/As until the useful information could be extracted for properly focused questions.

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  • I only just saw your answer here. My first thought is that a "too discussion-y" question" could be something for a "Genealogy Conference Room" but then I think the aim of the chat should be to try and distil the current long questions down into some smaller component Q&As that become more easily digestible by visitors.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Sep 2 '14 at 6:29
  • The more I think about it the more I think Community Wiki may fit your spec for "a third area (comparable to Meta) which could act as a Q/A purgatory for questions like this". Perhaps we could experiment with converting or writing a question or two as Community Wiki Q&As to see whether or not they work for us for this purpose.
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Oct 5 '14 at 4:46
  • @PolyGeo I've been reading about Community Wiki over the last couple of days, and now that I know more about how they work, I'm not that keen on creating them or transmogifying things. I'm surprised SE hasn't phased them out, given some of the Q/As I've seen over on Meta.
    – Jan Murphy Mod
    Oct 5 '14 at 4:50
  • Were you thinking of Q&As where it has been used on Meta SE or particular discussions about it there?
    – PolyGeo Mod
    Oct 5 '14 at 6:17
  • I was thinking of the blog post in my other comment blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/08/the-future-of-community-wiki and other discussions about Community Wiki on Meta.
    – Jan Murphy Mod
    Oct 5 '14 at 19:58

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