How to deal with problem reports


          Help and Guidance 2021: New Page: Version 1.1



The GENUKI mandatory technical standards call for a mechanism to be presented as part of each GENUKI web page terminator, which encourages the users and readers to find help, report problems and contribute information. The standard mechanism (a blue button link) results in a webform presentation allowing the reader to forward an email without being aware of the email address of the recipient. It also makes it more difficult for spam generators and/or robots to harvest the email addresses of GENUKI maintainers.

Responding to specific queries

If the page involved is related specifically to one section of GENUKI then the resulting email will be directed automatically to the email address nominated by the maintainer for this section. If the problem is judged by the maintainer to be genuine then a correction should be made at the earliest opportunity, and the originator informed. If the maintainer judges that the problem is not genuine, e.g., the originator is mistaken or the proposed correction impractical, the originator should be informed.

If the page is more general or at a higher level in the GENUKI hierarchy, the email will be directed to the maintainers' mail group, and should be dealt with by the most relevant maintainer, who should use the maintainers' mail group to inform all others that the problem has been recognised and will be dealt with.

The maintainers' mailing list is monitored by the GENUKI Executive Team and Trustees, who will deal with reports not picked up by anyone else.

Other Queries

Despite guidance to the contrary GENUKI readers will use the error reporting form for requesting help and advice with their own genealogy. It's worth having a few polite standard responses for dealing with such people. A good example currently in use by Brian Randell is as follows:

My apologies, but this is a standard response message.

I am afraid that for some time now I have had to include on the "Find Help" form (the one that you used in order to send me the above message) the following request:

"Please do not ask me for personal advice - though I am the maintainer of the GENUKI/Devon pages, in all probability I do not have the local knowledge that you require, leave alone the time to provide such a service, or at times even to reply to such queries. Instead, try sending a query to one of the Devon-related mailing lists."

You can find details of the mailing lists under "Genealogy" on the GENUKI/Devon county page.

My own area of interest and expertise regarding Devon centres on Clovelly in North Devon - otherwise, just about all I know on Devon genealogy is already in the Devon pages, maintenance of which takes up a good proportion of my spare time - hence my need to use this standard reply to your query.

Sorry. However I think you will very likely get some useful responses from the DEVON-L mailing list in particular.


Brian Randell

Brian uses a whole set of such standard responses, set up as alternative signatures.



Users and readers of GENUKI sometimes phrase their problem report as a complaint, e.g., their email address has been revealed without their permission. In some cases they are mistaken and have confused GENUKI with another website. In other cases they might have a genuine complaint which needs attention.

Legal complaints

This section is intended to assist maintainers faced with a legal complaint from a reader, e.g., breach of copyright, or defamation. The maintainer to whom the complaint is directed should try to deal with the complaint initially, whilst adhering to the GENUKI standards of conduct. However, the maintainer should also retain a copy of all messages sent and received in exchanges with the complainant.

It's quite possible that, at some point in these exchanges, the maintainer will feel unable to proceed. It's possible that the subject of the complaint is beyond the knowledge or experience of the maintainer to respond, or the complainant remains unsatisfied, or the maintainer realises that the legal issue is becoming overpowering. In these circumstances, the maintainer should withdraw from exchanges with the complainant, and inform the complainant that the exchanges with the maintainer are at an end.

The maintainer should forward the complaint, and a copy of all messages sent and received in exchanges with the complainant, to the GENUKI Trustees, who will take over from the maintainer, keeping the originator informed.