Family Tree Circles Update. And Your Input Needed!<script src=""></script> :: Genealogy
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Family Tree Circles Update. And Your Input Needed!

Article by Scott_J

Hi All.

Here's an update on what's been going on beyond the recent spam updates...

<b>Mobile Usability</b>

I've been doing a lot of work to make the site more mobile friendly. There are a full 40% of visitors using a phone or tablet and the site is much more usable. It was pretty well impossible to browse FamilyTreeCircles effectively on a phone before, but not any more. Take a look next time you're browsing on your phone.

This basically means more new members.

<b>More Improvements</b>

Now that we've got those boring but necessary things out of the way I'm now entering a phase of development and looking forward to improving the website. There are two major areas of improvement that I'm considering equally: 1. getting new people involved, and 2. making life better for the people who are already here and using the site on a daily basis.

I would love to hear your ideas for both.

Is there anything you think we could do to bring in more researchers? New features or sections? Can I organize information in a different way than we do currently, which is primarily by surname currently.

And what can I do to make *your* life easier? Whether you're managing a lot of journals, or trying to stay on top of the latest posts and comments, or doing something unique that I'm not even aware can I make it better for you?

I'd love to see a conversation here about that.

Surnames: NONE
Viewed: 7073 times
Likes: 1
by Scott_J Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2019-08-01 16:57:14

Scott Jangro is the owner of and has documented roots back to Mayflower passengers Stephen Hopkins and William Brewster. If you're wondering what he's doing when he's mysteriously absent, here's some links to other stuff he's responsible for:

Do you know someone who can help? Share this:


by ngairedith on 2019-08-01 18:19:57

Looks like I'm the first to kick off Scott 😉 and it's just a small annoyance really. When giving an 'up' on a comment someone leaves (similar to a FB 'like') that then lifts that comment to first place. Things start to get out of whack when reading answers before queries ..

by Scott_J on 2019-08-01 20:15:21

Ok thanks, I’ll look at that.

What else?

by Scott_J on 2019-08-01 21:47:05

That's fixed now. comments are now sorted only by date.

It was a long time ago, but I don't even think that was intentional to sort by score.

by tonkin on 2019-08-01 23:36:16

How about a few instructions for new members when posting journals. Some journals only have a name in the title and provide no other details, or very few.

Small example.
If looking for a birth or death include full names, dates, locations, parents names and the event they are looking for. When looking for a marriage include full names of the bride and groom, year and place of marriage.

If unable to provide full details include as much information as possible to assist other members willing to provide their time to help with searches.

by ngairedith on 2019-08-02 00:48:39

Would it (ever) be possible to add small photos within the post, as opposed to one at the bottom. This could be an encouragement for more new members if they could make some of their journals into 'family trees'.
Example .. John & Mary Smith emigrated, small photo of ship; had 9 children - Child 1.. their spouse, life, kids etc., small photo. Child 2.. small headstone photo etc, etc

by ngairedith on 2019-08-02 00:55:18

Big thanks Scott for the improvements when using cell phone.
It was impossible to edit a journal prior to that

by ngairedith on 2019-08-02 00:57:46

Is it possible to make links open in a separate window?

by ngairedith on 2019-08-02 01:37:01

This one is a doozey of a headache ..
There are a handful of unknown & seemingly obscure words that we cannot add in journals (software use only). Adding them and submitting post, results in an 'oh oh' cannot do - no explanation as to why or what.
I know, I know, we should write less and save more often. Fact is, we sometimes don't, especially when transcribing newspapers. Luckily it is possible to back track to what was written and all is still there.
What I do is open said journal in two pages, leaving one open in edit at all times, then copy a paragraph at a time to 2nd page, submitting after each. When the 'oh oh' appears it then gets down to sentence by sentence, then word by word. When offending word is found I replace it with one which means the same, then finish by copying & pasting rest of journal from page 1 into 2. BUT, one MUST then remember to only save & submit page 2 😁
We have one member who has left (at least 3 times) because of this, after an angry, 'rant post'.

So, bottom line .. would it be possible to have a 'box' at the top along with
|Ask a Question|Request a Lookup|Active| etc., named hints or helps or whatever, which contains a list of the offending words so we don't add them in the first place.

by tonkin on 2019-08-02 02:09:02

I like ngaredith's idea about making links open in a separate window to make it easier for computer illiterate people like myself to link journals.

by Scott_J on 2019-08-02 12:18:00

I can make links open in a new window. That's an easy one.

And for help text when creating journals, I'll review that and see if I can encourage people to put better info.

@ngairedith, do you have an example of text that causes this issue? I want to make sure I'm chasing the right problem.

by Scott_J on 2019-08-02 12:40:04

Never mind. It took me a few minutes to remember the issue @ngairedith. I got it now.

Also noted your idea about inserting photos. That'll take an overhaul to the entire editor. Which is doable for sure.

by ngairedith on 2019-08-02 12:55:44

It is only ever one word (as opposed to a sentence). Hasn't happened for a couple of months but I'll try to remember a couple of words that trigger it. Silly little words like schedule? or edit? or delete? or something like that but which can be used in comments box. I will think on it and get back to you. Just wanted to acknowledge your reply.

There are words that, once submit is hit, brings up the phrase: "Oh no, something went wrong" (or similar) and the search for WHICH word begins. Luckily, if you click the back button you can reopen to the page which you have just written. Never used to be like that - it used to only reopen on the page as it was when last saved, thereby losing hours of typing 😒

There is one word (maybe two) that simply brings up the phrase, at submit, to: "That word is for exclusive use of the programme" (or, once again, similar wording)

by ngairedith on 2019-08-02 13:05:19

Thanks Scott, I was obviously thinking for the words whilst you answered 😊
I'm excited about the changes thus far and to come 👍

by Scott_J on 2019-08-02 13:19:43

So I cannot publish the bad words as they are ever-changing based on server security. But I can keep an eye out for things that are causing issues and make exemptions for pages. I just made an update to the rules so the most common one that I'm seeing won't happen again specifically on the journal add/edit page and in comments like these.

So the journal edit page and journal comments should now not die because of seemingly benign word combinations, like "select...from" and "insert...into"

(that I can submit this comment is a test)

Sadly, the server is under contstant attack of people trying to find holes to exploit and this is what's causing that. So I need to be careful about how much I open it up.

by ngairedith on 2019-08-02 13:29:34

ah yes, 'select' was one.
The words were able to be added to comments however and, except for one occasion, could also be sent through private message

by Scott_J on 2019-08-02 13:40:16

It may have seemed like it was just single words, but it is actually (typically, but not always) a combination of words that aren't necessarily right next to each other. So the word "select" is ok unless later there's the word "from" somewhere later in the text. Remove "select" from that equation and it's fine, which probably makes it seem like just one word.

This is why I can't easily say, "here's the list of disallowed words" because it's much more complex. To make matters worse, I cannot even handle the error nicely because it's getting blocked way upstream on the server.

I can only set specific pages to not get those security rules applied to them, which I've done for journals and comments. I'll do that also for private messages.

You'll probably want to keep doing ctrl+c before saving because you've got PTSD. :)

I know the feeling. There are few worse things than losing hours of typing into a website only to have it be tossed in the bin never to be seen again.

by ngairedith on 2019-08-02 13:51:11

and thanks for the clear explanation and remedy. PTSD just melted away

by Scott_J on 2019-08-02 13:53:35

Links now open in new windows.

Also you actually can insert images into posts. You just can't upload more than one to go at the end of a post. The format is very similar to a link:


(that closing bracket is a curly bracket so it won't show the image)

Will look like this:


The caption is required. I'll look into making a version that will only show the image with no caption.

Now you need the image to be uploaded somewhere else (there are lots of free services). I'll investigate allowing uploads of images and then using that format to display them easily. But at the very least you've got this for now.

by Scott_J on 2019-08-02 14:01:36

Here's a good post with a list of free photo hosting sites..

And there you can test if that click opens in a new window.

by ngairedith on 2019-08-02 14:18:59

yah! I put the coffee pic in a post (then deleted of course) and yes, links open in a new window. Leaps & Bounds 😃 Thanks Scott

by Scott_J on 2019-08-02 15:48:54

One more update for now on including images. Here's the quick version. I need to test more and add more help text/documentation and I'll eventually make a post about it separately.

You can upload/manage images in your profile. There's a new "media" tab there which shows you every image you've ever uploaded. (I don't know what'll happen if you have thousands!) And from there you can click on the image room link.

From the image room, you can upload images and if you click on one, you can get a short code to use for journals. There's also a new short code which is [img_id=xxxxx} (use square brackets in the actual code) to insert an image into a journal. Here's that image again using [img_id=46897}

You can get that code by clicking on an image in your image room.

Only you can see your own image room.

by Scott_J on 2019-08-02 16:00:39

@ngairedith. Let me know how that works for you, since you've got almost 1500 images.

I may need to add pagination or something.

by ngairedith on 2019-08-02 16:24:41

👀 brilliant, how easy is that to work with !

Feedback .. I tried to upload a photo as it was 500x800 but it was rejected. I resized it down to 150x125 and I think it is still took big but it will become distorted and blurry if I go down further.
See it here

Any ideas?

by Scott_J on 2019-08-02 16:30:04

There's a size limit. I don't think it's based on resolution specifically, but number of bytes. I forget. Let me look into it.

by Scott_J on 2019-08-02 16:31:42

Ah also, images do get resized to 400px wide, so don't go any smaller than that. That's why it's blurry. It's getting sized up.

I can make this a whole lot better than this very limiting functionality, and I will.

by ngairedith on 2019-08-02 16:35:02

Yes, I couldn't believe how many photos there are. A quick look shows many are repeated twice, three times, or more and I'm sure I wouldn't have added the same photo to two or more journals. Also, many are showing in there sideways and they wouldn't be that way on a journal and many, many, are not showing at all (just the little blue box). When I click on a pic it doesn't give any info on which journal it is attached to and I will never find where it is 😆

by Scott_J on 2019-08-02 16:37:59

I can add a link to journals that use it. that's a good idea.

by ngairedith on 2019-08-02 16:53:23

Ok, I sized another pic (& to be fair a slightly better quality) down to 400 and this is what it looks like.
So, Samuel & Fanny had 13 children. What if I wanted to add a pic per person, like the 'family tree' type journals we spoke of earlier? What are your thoughts on the way it would look

by Scott_J on 2019-08-02 17:19:05

Can you email me that image that you uploaded to have it appear like that last one?

by ngairedith on 2019-08-02 17:30:55

The last one? Single male? Resized at 400?

by Scott_J on 2019-08-02 17:40:41

yes please

by Scott_J on 2019-08-07 17:01:20

Here's another update for those of you paying attention way down here. I'll write up the recent changes in a new post soon.

I've added a field in the journal edit page for related journals. Enter any journal IDs in that field and those journals will appear as a list of links to journals at the bottom of the published journal.

Look here to see what it looks like: click here

by ngairedith on 2019-08-08 00:03:31

LOVE that feature Scott, thanks
Small glitch, another unrelated journal linked to it even though I only added 1 ID.
See it here

by Scott_J on 2019-08-08 02:12:40


Put *just* the ID(s) of the journal(s) in that field. So in that case you just want that field to contain 17947. You put in the entire URL.

by ngairedith on 2019-08-08 02:34:08

sorted, cheers

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