THE BACK STORY
See long, long ago (no, this is not a fairy tale) in a land of internet, researchers, bloggers, there was a post on another site that I felt was, well, rather degrading to many researchers. I actually was rather appalled at the tone of the post. And, yes, I did, I made a comment, in defense of the other side of the fence, where I happened to be sitting at the time. And, yes, I was attacked in further comments by another reader/researcher. My name was not mentioned, but, since I was pretty much the only one on that side of the fence up to that point in the discussion, I pretty much figured out who the attack was aimed at, Ya, me! And, YA, I was wounded. Deeply. I realized how deeply I was hurt in the middle of the night last night, when I was replaying this post in my head. Was I wrong to be that deeply hurt, maybe, it was after all just someone's opinion. But, emotions, are NEVER right or wrong, they just are what they are. I have been very sensitive to those types of criticisms for most of my life, and even more so in my tottering age. And, that my friends, is why if you choose to continue reading MY rant, you will read and I am sure you will feel my angst.
So, without further ado (I know, I hear ya saying, well, it IS about time Carol!) I am jumping into the current fray, and yes, I feel like this frog looks, CONCERNED! OK, scared. Ya, I will probably regret this later, but, here goes:
Here is the focus of my rant, this was in my email on June 27th, and in the email of many of my researching friends too. This is a direct quote of the entire email message.
"Ancestry.com is continuing our efforts to improve the search experience across Ancestry.com and will be making changes to our search functionality in the upcoming months. Some features will be added and some will be discontinued. As part of the 2% of our subscribers that use the old search function on the site, we know that you are passionate about the search experience on Ancestry.com and we are reaching out to you to get input on potential improvements. We hope you will take the opportunity to share your insights and feedback on our plans.
To identify which areas of the experience we should focus on this year, we have drawn on customer input, usage data, usage patterns and our old search function for inspiration. From all of that, we are looking at making your time on Ancestry.com more productive by improving these areas of the search experience in 2013:
More relevant search results with the best results at the top
Easier refining and control of your search results
Keeping a better history of the work you have done
Publishing more new content and more corrections to existing content
Performance improvements to return results faster
As we begin to make these improvements, we will no longer maintain two separate search systems for the site. Maintaining two systems limits the resources we can use to make improvements and increases the complexity of every improvement we try to make. Additionally, continuing to maintain the two systems limits our ability to direct more investment into other areas like adding more record collections and correcting existing collections.Based on that, as a part of the work this year we will be bringing together the two search experiences into a single search experience on Ancestry.com. We hope to bring forward the best features of both the old and new search systems into the consolidated experience to facilitate the transition for our users and to improve the overall search experience. We expect to discontinue the old search function as a separate experience within the next 6 months.As a user of the old search feature, we wanted to give you advance notice and let you influence the changes we are making in search. Please take this survey to share your feedback and ideas on key features to improve.
The Ancestry.com Product Team"
THE RULES FOR THE READER OF THIS POST
Now, before I progress with this rant of mine, here is the thing.
This IS my sand box. This IS my rant. These are my opinions, you do not have to agree, I figure you won't. That is fine, I am not asking you to agree. I am saying tho, that you will NOT be allowed into my sandbox to call me names or degrade me. Don't come in here and tell me to put on my big girl panties. Don't come in here and tell me to get over it, buckle down, figure it out, or better yet, just get off the internet and off these web sites. Don't tell me that if I do not like a search engine, because in my opinion it FAILS to perform, to get off the site and leave the site to you. Don't tell me that I am sucking up band width. I pay for my share of that band width at Ancestry and have for some time.
Don't be telling me to "give it a chance". Do you really think I won't? Like I am going to have a choice? Let's face it, Ancestry is committed to these changes and NOTHING I say is going to make them go back. I will either try it, love it, hate it, or leave the playing field.
And, don't be telling me, or asking me, "Well, didn't you think this was coming?" Well, yes, I did, and I have been dreading it for a very long time.
Here are my observations, and yes, you probably should call them my rants. MY rants. MY concerns. MINE! You have my permission to stop reading anytime! LOL
Yep, Ancestry is changing the web site. OK, it seems every web site I use is changing, Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, Facebook, Google +. They all change lots of stuff in the matter of 12 months. I cannot keep up, I am not alone in that, I hear lots of wails of woe and befuddlement, "I cannot keep up".
Do I like being called the 2 %, with the indication that I don't matter. NOPE. Don't like it, it stings. Reduces me. I like to think I am important in the world. (OK, just kidding, on the important, I realize I am not even capable of making a ripple over at Amcestry). But, I don't believe that only 2 % of their subscribers use the Old search. Not based on facts or anything scientific, just my gut, that, or I only have friends in that 2 %, cause the majority of my researching friends don't like the New search and so many of us still use the Old search. But, that 2 % just stings something horrible. Makes my blood boil. Can I explain it? Nope. Bleeding here.
Does New search work? Obviously, it does. Have I spent enough time learning it, no way. Here is the deal, I have a limited number of days left on this good earth. I have to choose how I spend those days, those minutes. Constant learning of new stuff on web sites sucks HOURS out of my days that are left. I have tried the New search, it does NOT work for me. I repeat, I have not spent a lot of time trying to figure it out, all the filters and stuff, I don't want to spend that time. My research results with the New search are worse than dismal. They are a TOTAL FAIL. Too many hits, confusing, obtuse. This is MY experience, MY research, MY time, MY efforts and MY frustration. Until now, I have just limped back to the Old search after I got the daylights beat out of my by the New Search, and spent my limited hours and energy researching, getting results, happy, but, concerned, knowing deep in my heart that Old search days were limited.
I know that a lot of other researchers love New Search. My observation, some of these that love it adapt easier, have more energy, have (presumably) MANY MANY more days on this side of the pearly gates than I do. I hold them dear to my heart and harbor no ill feelings towards them. Really, all I want for them (and, of course for ME) is that their research goes well and that they have good results with the search engines on the web sites they use. All that counts is that you find your dude or dudette.
I also differ over many other researchers in the way I access the internet. I am not going into a huge dissertation here, but, with the air card and our rolling home, trying to sort through page after page after age of hits in the New search is HUGELY time consuming. There have been times when I could play 3 hands of computer solitaire while waiting for a document image to load on Ancestry. Really. Isn't that sad?? Yes, it is my life style and my choice to NOT live somewhere with rocket fast blazing, burning speeds. It is my experience, and after all, as I have pointed out here a time or two, this IS all about ME and MY experience with the search engines at Ancestry.
THE NEXT PART
So, what next? I'll tell you what, no matter how much the 2 % do not like the New search, Ancestry WILL do away with the Old search. Do not doubt it. That leaves me two choices, as I see it. One, learn the New search (and hopefully Ancestry will improve it to the point that it will really be better. I don't want to say they won't, but, I really have little faith. Call me a doubting Carol.) The second choice is to just not renew my subscription. If I do not renew I will have to either find new places to do my research, and there are several that come to mind. OR, I will be forced to do INPUT, INPUT and more INPUT. I actually have enough INPUT to do to keep me going for a couple of years. Really!
Will I miss being a subscriber to Ancestry. Yea, some. Just SOME?? you ask. Yes, SOME! See, I got so aggravated with Ancestry a while back that I actually let my subscription expire, for well over a year. I missed it, SOME. I did not miss the aggravation. Really.
So, the bottom line, I am not happy to have to learn to use what is in my opinion (the ONLY one that counts here at this moment) is a lame search engine. My rant here is not going to make one iota of difference in Ancestry's business and search engine plan. IF they actually do make it better, well, you will hear that from me too, credit where credit is earned. IF they fail, and I cannot learn the new stuff easily, well, I bail. I have LOTS of other stuff to do.
* THE DISCLAIMER: I am currently a PAYING member of Ancestry.com. I have been for quite a few years, except for that time that I let my subscription lapse. I do not accept kickbacks or gratuities from any commercial venture. Read my disclaimer page. Ancestry has not asked me to review their web site ON my blog. They have asked me a number of times to fill out surveys, and I have, and I was blunt and if I did not like what they were asking about, I told them so, bluntly.
** Facebook, FamilySearch and Google + are free sites I also use, same disclaimer.
*** And, now, I publish this post and stand back from the flames. I do moderate the comments on this blog and I appreciate all said comments. I have even removed Captcha to make it easier for my readers to comment. However, if you attack me personally, I can guarantee I will NOT publish your comments. This IS after all MY sandbox and MY rant. Defensive attitude and all.