Monday, January 27, 2014

What’s Going On With The FamilySearch Wiki?

The FamilySearch Wiki started having problems in late December 2013 when the FCK Editor extension was removed from the MediaWiki engine that powers the site.  Non-techie contributors to the site have had problems since that fateful decision was made. 

They lost the WYSIWYG edit tools that they are used to seeing and using in their writing lives. The interface was similar to a word processing program thus making the training curve into a small bump rather than a cliff to scale for these wonderful folks.

Unfortunately the site suffers from more than just the loss of the WYSIWYG editor.   You can’t use just any brand of browser to edit it now either.

Let’s look at them by browser:

Chrome build 32.0.1700.76 m

The basic editing tool functions and you can also select the Advanced tools as seen in this screen capture.

Wiki - Chrome


  Opera build 12.16

The available tool set in Opera is identical to Chrome.

wiki - Opera


 Internet Explorer build 11.0.9600.16476

It’s hard to say what tools are available in IE.  IE freezes at the LDS login stage of editing.

Wiki - IE


Firefox build 26.0

There are no editing tools shown in Firefox.  But you can write all you want as long as you know wikitext.

Wiki - FF


The FamilySearch Wiki is slow to load but users of any FamilySearch product are aware of that issue.  It plagues the Family Tree site and its suite of sources, photos and stories tools.  The slow response is often witnessed on all sites under the FamilySearch umbrella.  When told that my connection speed was the problem, I checked my connection and found that according to, my connection speeds are 60 MPS down and 15 MPS up.  My computer has an i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM.  No other programs were running during the time of the above tests other than the firewall and antivirus programs.  All of the other sites I visited at the same time responded almost instantly.

Symptomatic issues

We know that FamilySearch is offering a LOT of free resources and tools for genealogists and that requires a LOT of resources and money but they have to be functional or they won’t be used.

Thanks for all of the resources FamilySearch.  I sincerely appreciate them.   I use them every day but truth be told, since FamilySearch sites started slowing down in the Spring of 2013 and are plagued by even more slowing and other problems in 2014, I use them a LOT less.  Unfortunately, I and most of my genealogy friends will follow that downward use trajectory unless the issues are addressed and resolved sooner rather than later.