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Bug in Ancestry Message Service

Discussion in 'Ancestry problems' started by IanL, May 7, 2020.

  1. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I found that messages were disappearing under the old system - perhaps for the same reason? Although that wouldn't why some of the messages I sent also went missing.
  2. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    I never experienced that. I did not have any problems at all with the old message system.

    I do not like the fact you can now delete part of a message which is in somebody else's inbox.
    It feels like sabotage.
  3. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    You were lucky. I've now got messages going all the way back to 2010 (when I switched to a different account) which had vanished under the old system.
  4. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    So how will you feel if one (or many) of the contacts deletes everything they said?
    As that is the way it seems to work.
  5. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    For all I know that might be why some of the messages disappeared in the past - that's certainly what I assumed at the time.
    I'm not saying that the new system is perfect - just that the old system was rubbish.
  6. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    I think the new one is even worse.
  7. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    The issue of deleting messages is a thorny one - my guess is that Ancestry are doing their best to comply with data protection legislation, and you can't fault them for that. As I had several messages disappear under the old system, and so far don't seem to have lost any under the new system, I'm obviously a big fan of the new system. Indeed, I now have back some of the older messages that were previously lost to me.

    Note that because the new system threads together conversations it's really easy to copy them into a Word document that can be attached to a family tree or filed separately. So if you're worried about losing messages in event that your contacts exercise their right to delete them, there's a simple solution.
  8. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    That's all very well but up until now I have used the email advice and filed that in my Microsoft Outlook filing system.

    I recently asked somebody about a comment in their tree. They gave me a sort of answer so I asked for further info which was then provided.
    The very next day when I went back to the message to copy and paste that piece of information only to find the information had disappeared.
    I asked for them to re-send it and have now received an answer, ‘Something went wrong there and I'm unable to find the message and resend it.’.

    As far as I am concerned, NOBODY should have the ability to remove messages from things in my Inbox and I consider it to be a huge flaw in the system.

    I fail to see how it can be for privacy reasons because only the participants can see the messages.

    I have raised the issue with Ancestry who advised me:
    The new messaging platform on Ancestry does not currently have a way to permanently delete a complete message thread. You can however delete certain parts of a message string to make it shorter.
    Ancestry is working on the delete feature in this new system and will release it when it is available.
    In typical fashion they gave me the link for how to delete a message which I had quoted from in my opening words!

    I am still waiting for them to tell me why the text of the message is no longer in the advisory email.
  9. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Data protection law doesn't work like that, at least, not in Europe - in most circumstances companies are obliged to delete personal information from their servers on request even if nobody can see it.

    I suspect that Ancestry users who delete or amend messages might not realise that their actions are affecting the recipient's copy as well as their own - perhaps there should be a warning (if there isn't one already)?
  10. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Reading these posts on Ancestry's Messaging system leaves me wondering why I have no qualms about the Messaging system, New or Old. I use it quite often and find it serves my purpose, but reading what others say, I differ in that I cannot recall ever wanting to delve back in time and read past messages and have no idea what is or isn't still available. (More on that in a moment) I do admit to not being in favour of losing my Sent folder, but have not had enough time with the New to see if it compensates in some way.

    Strangely enough because I tend to have a handful of Ancestry tabs open at any one time (and these will show next time the browser is opened, and remain until I close individual tabs) I still have one tab showing Messages under the OLD system (with the "It's almost here!" -headline) whilst another displays Message under the NEW system. Clearly this is a transient thing as the New is here to stay. So reading what others are saying I have tried to see what all the fuss is about, and to be honest I cannot. So it has to be with how I use the Messaging system compared to others.

    There are two reasons for using Messaging: #1 I originate a message which will show in the Inbox and await (hopefully) a reply. #2 I receive an email telling me someone is messaging me. The email acts as a reminder that a message awaits reading in Ancestry, which as I always have Ancestry open in another device, I will access via the envelope icon - NOT via the email. Once a two way dialogue opens it remains active usually for a week or so, or emails are exchanged and the dialogue continues that way.

    So now I come to the bit about messages disappearing, not being able to find archived messages, so on and so forth. What is all that about? I cannot recall ever wanting to delve back to seek out someone I messaged 6 months ago, or a year or more. If the exchange is significant I will record such in my Tribal Pages, or know how to get in touch via email. In truth I regard Messages as 'of the moment' where we give or receive a helping hand. I may not exactly like the new green interface, or the layout, and even perhaps mourn not having a Sent folder ... but in every other regard I find the Messaging system serves it purpose and likely on short term viewing, believe the new is better than the old. Other will disagree of course, such is the way of the world.
  11. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    When I first received my Ancestry DNA results, back in October 2018, if I remember correctly, I was excited to see a very close match so sent that person a message. That message is no longer there and he/she never replied. Two or three others that I sent are also not there and I received no reply to those either. More recent messages do have the entire conversation, so perhaps Ancestry decided to delete those which were never answered. I wonder if they still appear in the inbox of those people though.

    I no longer send messages to Ancestry matches, unless they message me first. I do contact those few that show up in LC.
  12. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I can see messages I sent to one close cousin who has never replied: I sent them on 2 Oct 18, 5 Feb 20, and 4 Jun 20. However Ancestry don't show messages I sent prior to October 2018, of which there were at least three (judging from a note to myself which reads "latest reminder sent 30/3/18")..
  13. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Bob, the difference is probably because you're new to DNA.

    I wrote to lots of people in the months after I got my Ancestry results, people who were genetic cousins but whose precise connection was not evident. In those days I expected Ancestry's messaging system to work, so didn't add a note to the Ancestry page for the match - and couldn't make a note in my tree because I didn't know where they fitted in.

    When I found that messages were disappearing I started copying my messages into the notes field, only to find belatedly that it has a limited capacity so only shorter messages were recorded in full.

    Why did I need to know whether I'd written and what I'd said? Partly so I could copy it into a reminder rather than typing it all out from scratch, but also so that I had a record of where I thought the match might be. It's all about saving time and duplication of effort.
    • Thanks! Thanks! x 1

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