I’m now an arbitrator

I’ve been indexing a lot of records for FamilySearch’s indexing project and started thinking I’d like to be an arbitrator.  In FamilySearch indexing, each document is indexed twice, and then an arbitrator resolves any differences between the two products.  I went through the tutorial to learn how to arbitrate and wrote to my group administrator.  I also started working in intermediate-level projects and waited until I got good at them before sending in my request.  Today I got my reply that I’m now an arbitrator.  Yippee!

I now get to see the other side of the indexer/arbitrator divide.  While I griped a bit about about some bad arbitration done on my indexing, in general the arbitrators fixed more of my work than they broke, so I appreciated their work.  Now that I’m seeing things from the other side I’m appreciating the arbitration system even more.  A lot of the mistakes are minimal, but the arbitration system gives one more chance to fix them.  Also, some people really mess up.  Strangely, the ones that mess up the most so far are the super-conscientious ones who fill in fields that should be blank.  This is why it is vital to read the project and field instructions to know what is expected, so that your hard work isn’t thrown out.

I was trying not to get too cocky about seeing other people’s mistakes, but just to keep my feet on the ground after my arbitrating and indexing session I went to look at the arbitration results for batches I had indexed.  I did real well on one but badly on another.  Looking at the specifics of the bad one I picked the wrong marriage date for a number of records and missed a whole page.  That is a good way to remind myself that even indexers who normally do well can have a bad batch and to remember that I’m just seeing the mistakes, not all the good work that goes straight through the system.

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2 Responses to I’m now an arbitrator

  1. Amy Coffin says:

    Congratulations on being an arbitrator. It is an entirely different perspective, isn’t it?

    • Yes it is. Since the indexes won’t change after I arbitrate them, it’s vital that I get things right. Fortunately in most cases one of the choices is clearly the right one. Sometimes, though, neither are and then I have to use my judgment to enter a third choice that will become the official one.

      One thing that baffles me though, is real bad arbitration. FamilySearch encourages one to index a variety of records before becoming an indexer, and to index 1 out of 4 or 5 records when you are arbitrating. This should teach one how the project works and how the records should be indexed. If one has questions there is a real helpful forum and a support line. I would think that someone with enough experience and motivation to be an arbitrator would get the basics down. Most do, as most of my index work is correctly arbitrated, but from time to time I get demolished by arbitration overrides on things that are in the field help. I just don’t understand that.

      To be more positive, though, I’m really glad for the system. Between typos, hard-to-read records and misunderstanding of rules there are a lot of things to fix and this helps improve the quality of the results a lot.

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