Developers Meeting

26 Sept 2011
Dovy, Geir, GeneJ, Tamura, Andy, Myrt
ITEM: Regarding forming a non-profit – (Gordon Clarke) tabled for further review, since BG received numerous files and Gordon’s posting within the hour of this Developers Meeting. Gordon is not at our meeting, so we don’t feel we can discuss it without him.

ITEM: Discussion about implementation of interaction with Concern about governance, whether to have a few simple templates or deal with multiples. Myrt will work with Dovy for 2 hours this week to come up with something concrete about implementation. Geir and others will work with the structure of governance. Resolve details, post questions or problems addressing them with john at and dovy at

ITEM: Adrian’s concern about minutes being posted – we do our best.

ITEM: Do we go back to recording the meetings? No Action Taken.

ITEM: Majority of BG members are inactive. Discussion of a must have a posting on discussion board at _ frequency or be dropped from BG membership. Should there be membership levels? This also skews our voting. No action taken.

ITEM: Where to put our product while development? Wiki format doesn’t work as anyone can add/delete. No action taken, though Pat ro work with Dovy this week.
How are final decisions made?


GeneJ 2011-10-03T11:13:52-07:00
Follow up-agenda item 2
The second item in the 26 Sept 2011 Developers Meeting minutes include "Geir and others will work with the structure of governance. Resolve details, post questions or problems addressing them with john at and dovy at"

Background: it has been a month since a presentation was made to BetterGEDCOM about Since most of our members were not provided the link to the materials about, there has been almost no discussion about it on the wiki. Ala, most members simply have not had the information to respond with "questions or problems."

I'm posting here the comments I sent early to Dovy, John and Myrt.

1. At some fundamental level, BetterGEDCOM holds/held promise as a much
needed "peer review" forum for the development of genealogical technology
standards. Folks decided early on to begin with a mostly-on-the-wiki
forum--thought to be inclusive, independent, and something technologists
were comfortable using. The group will no doubt integrate
additional/supporting formats over time to further facilitate
collaboration and peer review.

Please see also:
"Peer review," Wikipedia.
"Open peer review," Wikipedia
"Independent review," Wikipedia
"Peer review failure," Wikipedia

An important concept of peer review is "justification." From the first of
the Wikipedia articles above--"It is difficult for authors and
researchers, whether individually or in a team, to spot every mistake or
flaw in a complicated piece of work. This is not necessarily a reflection
on those concerned, but because with a new and perhaps eclectic subject,
an opportunity for improvement may be more obvious to someone with special
expertise or who simply looks at it with a fresh eye. Therefore, showing
work to others increases the probability that weaknesses will be
identified and improved."

In terms of BetterGEDCOM, the wiki is the workspace where we are "showing
work to others."

2. Exchanges in BetterGEDCOM Developers Meetings are not a substitute for
the wiki workspace--"peer review"--effort.

3. I'd like to see presentations about made on the

(a) The following is the official posting to the Wiki about
29 August 2011 Meeting notes

"ITEM: Request from Earl Mott of AncestorSync - changed from request to
collaborate with AncestorSync, a commercial product to collaborate with an open standards initiative. Approved the following

BetterGEDCOM is an independent group of end users and software developers
working toward the next generation of open standards for communicating
genealogy information electronically. BetterGEDCOM believes that open
standards are the way forward. We welcome to the
effort to develop a widely supported international model for source

The official posting does not communicate user requirements/functionality,
the plan, etc., and the materials on AncestorSync's site are not a
substitute. It's probably not possible to fairly reverse engineer the presentation because functionality is vested in
"roles" of monitors and boards--vs. objective principles. I won't
speculate about how the under-defined term "popular programs" might be
received by BetterGEDCOM's independent developer community.

(b) If one searches the wiki for the term "" (without
the quotes), there are no returns. If one searches the wiki using
"" there are only 5 returns, 3 of which are in the
Developers Meeting part of the wiki (where very few actually discussions
emerge). You are welcome to search the BetterGEDCOM wiki itself to review
this input. There are a very few other postings that mention the
initiative, but not many. (In particular, Geir's posting this weekend
mentioned the initiative, but it does not yet return via the search

4. As part of presentation to the wiki, folks might believe
additional/supplemental tools/supporting formats would also help advance
the initiative. I'd hope those suggestions would be part of the wiki

Thank you for your time. I depend on making a living outside the world of
genealogy--please accept my apology if comments here are not
self-explanatory or found unduly to the point. --GJ

*Not every member of the BetterGEDCOM community practices genealogy in the
same way. Ala--we shouldn't assume every member has the same interest in
developing an "inclusive" set of user requirements in every part of the
GeneJ 2011-10-03T11:40:09-07:00
Oops. Copy paste dropped two paragraphs at the end of the first entry:

User Requirements. At least heretofore, BetterGEDCOM's effort to develop
"user requirements"/functionality has depended on open/interactive
exchange. Undo time and risk is involved when but a few are held
responsible for private work to reverse engineer proposals--necessary
before review can be made. (The process includes mitigating substantial
bias underlying some comments and proposals.*) When the workspace is not
shared (posted to the wiki), each member starts from scratch and the
collaborative results are known only to a perceived powerful few. Though
staged discussions might be conducted in working groups, material
proposals need to find their way to the wiki. Those who understand a
proposal best should make the presentation and answer questions/support
work of the open, independent peer review process. (It is unlikely a good
process will unfold without the participation of those who drafted the

Project Plan. I'm not privy to details, but the frustrations (opening
comments) seem problems with the project plan. Until the proposal's user
requirements/functionality has been developed on the wiki, it's hard for
me to envision a collaborative project plan. I'm empathetic, but without a
plan, it's hard to fully understand "disappointment" in the progress of
the plan.