WARNING: This article contains my personal opinions.Okay, I guess I have to speak up. On June 27 I published an announcement from Ancestry.com stating that the company is planning to replace the present two search methods with a newer search method that would incorporate the best of the two existing methods. I was amazed as that article generated a tsunami of comments from newsletter readers. As of this writing, 155 comments have been posted to that article, and new comments are being added almost hourly.
The following day I published a follow-up article that had been written by the Ancestry.com Product Team. That article has generated an additional 50 comments so far.
In short, I am amazed at the negativity expressed in these comments. I see comment after comment complaining that one present search method works better than the other present search method and that Ancestry.com shouldn't replace it. A few commenters questioned Ancestry.com's commitment to providing good software tools to search through digital records. I have to take issue with these comments. In fact, I totally disagree with most of those comments.
Here is my interpretation of the facts. Please feel free to disagree with me.
The issue of which is better, the Old Search or the present New Search, is a non-issue. In the original announcement, Ancestry.com recognized that the two search methods are quite different and produce different results. Some users prefer one method while others prefer the other method. That certainly doesn't surprise me and shouldn't surprise anyone else who has tried both methods.
Ancestry.com employees also stated that they wish to create a new, THIRD method that combines the best of both previous methods without losing any important functionality of either. I consider that to be an admirable goal, and I certainly hope the company succeeds.
For clarity, I will refer to this planned, new search software as "Search Method #3." That's my terminology, not anything from Ancestry.
The Ancestry.com employees then asked their present users for suggestions, especially to suggest the items that were important that need to be included in Search Method #3. The announcement did not use the words "constructive suggestions," but I will. What I read in the comments at the end of the article can hardly be called "constructive."
In short, Ancestry.com asked all of us to help write the specifications for a better product than any of us have ever seen before. Many of us responded by saying that we didn't want anything that is better. Instead, we want to remain with whatever method we prefer today.
Don't you want something that is better than what we presently have? Think about that for a minute.
Here's my input: I don't care if Ancestry.com keeps the old search software or the present new software. They can delete both of them as far as I am concerned, IF they are able really make a better search than either Old Search or New Search. That is the goal of Ancestry.com, and they have asked genealogists to help write the specifications of Search Method #3.
I believe that is a lofty goal, and I fully support Ancestry.com in their efforts to achieve that.
Here are the choices for all of us:
Choice #1: We can continue to whine and complain with the end result being that we probably will get a new search method someday that we had no voice in helping to create. It might meet our needs, although I doubt it.The choice is ours to make. I vote for Choice #2.
Choice #2: We can all drop the negativity, chip in, and contribute our suggestions in a mature and constructive manner to help specify the Search Method #3 that will include all the best features of Old Search AND the present New Search AND possibly add even more functionality than any of us have ever seen before.