I'm going to generalize and combine several recent encounters into one. This no longer accurately represents the position of any single individual. The criticisms go something like this:
The new search is a step backwards and they shouldn't be pushing it on us. They obviously don't understand how real genealogists do their work. They don't listen to their customers.
I always use exact searches because the other kind [ranked searches] doesn't work. It returns so many results as to be neither manageable nor credible. Even a simple perusal shows that after a few correct results at the top, the remaining search results are preposterous, falling outside the person's lifetime or physical location.
Tree-based searching? I will never enter a tree on Ancestry.com because they will use it to make money.
My reply wasn't completely rational, but I had fun writing it. What you see below is also an combination of a couple of replies.
Some people didn't want to switch from DOS and WordPerfect to Word and Windows. That doesn't mean that Windows and Word should not have been developed. When it comes to new tools, the customer is not always right. It is painful to stop and learn how to use a drill, let alone stop to sharpen the saw, when there is so much research to do and so little money or time to do it. That doesn't mean there isn't a place for drills.
I recently attended an hour long class on search techniques for genealogy databases like Ancestry. The instructor spent 2 minutes announcing that one should never use relevance ranked searches on Ancestry and 58 minutes teaching us how to work around the problems caused by exact searches: soundex, wild cards, nicknames, multiple searches with all known alternate spellings, searching for family members, mis-filed dates, etc.
Not to be too immodest, but I'm pretty much the fastest Ancestry.com searcher on the planet and I can tell you that sometimes I prefer exact searching and sometimes I prefer ranked. Sometimes I prefer the old search and sometimes I prefer the new. I'll face anybody at the OK Coral for a shootout. You use your single shot, one gun and I'll use all four of mine. I've got to warn you, that I'm also going to attach results into a tree and hit you with a tree-based search assault. I'll be firing off rounds, moving generation to generation faster than you can perform all 38 searches on the common misspellings of just one of your ancestors.
Put up or shut up
Further, I can communicate clearly and accurately enough to convince the new search team what the problems are so they can be fixed. Let me say, and I mean this in the least rude, most kind way possible, put up or shut up. Give exact use cases comparing old and new search that show how new search is inferior.
Here's an example showing what I mean by an exact case.
Steps with old search:
- Click on the Search tab.
- If Historical Records is not selected, select it.
- Check the Exact matches only box.
- Enter the name Benjamin Wiser.
- Click on Massachusetts Town Birth Records.
- Expected result: see the 5 children of Benjamin Wiser.
Steps with new search:
- Click on Search tab (or link).
- Click on Show Advanced.
- Result: list of results from all sorts of databases.
With exact instructions, Ancestry can see what they have messed up. In my example, once they realized they had dropped the ability to view exact results summarized by category, they added that capability back in.
So give actionable examples. Or buckle on your holster and grab your single-shot, old, exact search. You know where to find me. And you know what heat I'll be packing.