Thursday, July 16, 2009


Okay, I never joined Genealogy Wise to begin with and didn't see all the posts on this
issue, so bear with me, folks. And feel free to correct me on something I might have
missed on this affair:

Recently Genealogy Wise announced a contest with cash prizes of $100 each in
eight different categories. I gather these included prizes for the person who started
the most groups or invited the most new members. This rightly raised some concerns
among some members, including Terry Thornton who wrote a post critical of the
contest. Apparently Genealogy Wise felt this post and comments by other members
was "disrespectful" and removed it from the site.

I became aware of this when Bruce Buzbee posted on his Facebook status that his
comment had been deleted by GW. I went over and checked it out (you can read the
GW site content if you aren't a member but must register to comment) and found
Terry's post on censorship. I wish I'd had the foresight to save it now because I
can't recall the exact content but do remember in an exchange between Terry and
the GW spokesman, the reason given for the removal of Terry's original post was
that it was "disrespectful or rude".

I've "known" Terry now for nearly two years through correspondence and reading his
blog and the last thing Terry Thornton would ever be is "rude or disrespectful". Frankly,
if anyone was disrespectful it was IMHO the GW in his or her replies to Terry.

Just before I started this post I went back to GW to check on that exchange and found
thatTerry's second post was gone now as well. There's a revision of the contest rules that changes the criteria now from quantity to quality: "highest quality blog posts, highest quality videos, etc."and also a discussion asking for members' opinions on the contest.

There's also a discussion entitled "Help us determine the level of censorship at Genealogy
Wise" which asks members' opinions about censorship on three categories: Adult content
or porno, posts promoting non-genealogy products, and posts that are "rude" or "
disrespectful." I'm not going to give a full critique. Go read it for yourself at Genealogy Wise.
But I do have one thought that is making me do a slow burn. The original post from Terry is gone, deleted by GW. (The second one is gone as well, I suspect because Terry left GW in
protest to being labeled "rude and disrespectful".) So no one can see the post that started it
all, and now readers cannot read it and judge for themselves, and Terry is left with that
"rude and disrespectful" label."

GW is tap-dancing as fast as they can on the issue. The GW spokesperson says that in the
future they won't remove posts "disrespectful to GW."

You know, I might have eventually come around and joined GW. I originally resisted joining
FB but I finally gave in and jumped aboard. But this whole incident has left a bad taste in
my mouth and I can now safely say I'll never join Genealogy Wise.


Tamura Jones said...

You have the facts straight.

Terry deleted his profile and all his remaining content with it after comments from $familylink.

Bill West said...

Thanks, Tamura.

Cheryle Hoover Davis said...

Bill, I never saw the original post, and I agree with you...Terry Thornton is FAR from 'rude or disrespectful'!

Everyone who knows him will say the same thing. I'm sorry to hear this happened to him.

There is a good conversation going on, now, on this new site called Genealogy Wise. I'm sure the Admins now realize their mistakes, and at least have opened dialogue with it's members at GenealogyWise. The Admins seems to be listening and responding.

Sometimes, in the beginnings of everything, there are misunderstandings and mistakes. If they are corrected and opened to dialogue, it may prove to be a great site after all.

I do NOT like to hear what happened to Terry, and I hope things can be remedied - especially with Terry.

Julie said...

Gee, I certainly missed a lot. I myself just commented on the contest, telling them to drop it. There is no added-value. Gee, I hope they don't take that as rude or disrespectful ;)

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino said...

Hi Bill.. as far as I'm concerned I do not plan to enter a contest of any kind for the work I do. I think that's a bit much. So far I am not at all impressed with GW and keep thinking of leaving permanently. I don't understand why all the big names have joined. Well little me might just continue on my own lol

GeneaDiva said...


Thanks for your post on this.

I've been reading Terry Thornton's blog for a long time. There is not a disrespectful bone in his body. I'm not one to make a lot of comments and have a day job which requires too much of my time to blog as often as I would like, but I do read many of blogs and especially the ones that have been around for awhile (like yours) and I'm sure Terry Thornton is the last person to be rude or disrespectuful. His writing reflects a Southern Gentleman to the max. I will have to re-evaluate if I want to stay with GW b/c of this. I initally signed up Friday night and was throughly enjoying some of the groups.

Terry Thornton said...

BILL and all of your COMMENTERS,

Thanks for airing this problem --- and for all of the words of support.

My words and those of several folks who felt moved to comment about my article were censored --- those words were removed without notice and now the implication is that I was disrespectful and bashing --- and other ideas keep getting piled on as the word rude is being thrown about with abandon.

I joined GenealogyWise on the 10th of July; I left it in disgust on the 16th of July. And I won't be rejoining. Period.

I regret that the HOGS BLOGGERS Group I formed there with 72 members and the 90+ Friends and the 15 groups I joined will no longer be available to me. But my self esteem is worth more than continuing with an organization that is obviously making up the rules on a minute to minute basis.

Based upon my six day membership at GenealogyWise, I could not recommend it to anyone serious about genealogy or blogging.

Terry Thornton

Bill West said...

I don't blame in the least for feeling that way about GW, Terry.

And after all this, they've withdrawn the contest!

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

It seems to me an apology to Mr. Thornton would be appropriate. I haven't even taken a look at GW but I don't think it would really fit my needs. And if they are going to violate members' first amendment rights willy-nilly, I think I'll abstain.


Unknown said...

Terry's post has reposted by someone in the forum.

Jennifer said...


I'm with you. I really don't have the time to join and stay active at a new genealogy social networking site, and now that I hear this, I doubt that I will ever join either. I think enough is enough.