I'm a participant who is not a DNA project administrator but rather an average (or
just above novice), casual researcher who has found great value in reported DNA test
results that are kept current and have some sort of bio page.
Part of the value I receive is from just this sort of dialogue taking place now. When the
lists are active, it is very stimulating and there is so much to learn.
I am a Finance and HR professional so I live with the same sorts of privacy concerns Kevin
references but I don't share that level of concern as it relates to posting the kit
results. I always think more information is better with the personal option of opting out.
I realize not everyone shares this view and sometimes it seems necessary to protect people
from themselves - using information incorrectly, making wrong conclusions, just wanting
the gee whiz factor - but it seems to me that doing so penalizes everyone and defeats the
purpose of the project pages in the first place.
For me, having the relatively current project pages and bio pages - along with the gentle
encouragement of Pam, Kevin, and several others :-) - is why I ended up getting the test
done. The notifications offered directly to participants by ftDNA are just not compelling
or sufficient to warrant spending the money. I also actively recruit participants, for
several lines, and have shared costs when there was a possible match to upgrade a test. In
each of those instances, the availability and quality of the project pages in terms of #
of participants, currency of information, and ease of use ended up being a major factor in
their decision making.
I echo Pam and Clay - please find a middle ground and don't let it become just a
majority vote. Helping even ONE person seems like it would be worth it.
From: Kevin <kevin(a)kevindaniel.com>
To: Marleen Van Horne <msvnhrn(a)jps.net>
Sent: Saturday, August 29, 2009 10:25:57 AM
Subject: Re: [DANIEL] updating Daniel DNA res
Thanks Marlene. Lots of food for thought in your email.
We have 184 participants in the Daniel project, of which only 9 have not
returned a kit and one of those is very recent, so may be considered to
be active. We have only heard from 4 or five of the remaining 176 active
participants, several of whom are are project managers themselves and
have their own biases, which is fine as I obviously do too. I'd be
interested in feedback from folks who are non-project manager
participants as to what they would like to see on the project page and
if they feel their needs are being met. Until very recently there has
been no negative feedback sent to me about the web site, which has been
extant for 7 years. I don't know how many participants subscribe to this
list, though. I will also post a request to the Daniel-DNA list.
Marlene, I have looked at the tools currently available to admins, but
probably am not aware of tools that are in the works. So far, all of the
reports I have found valuable have a cut and paste option that allows
them to be added to other web pages. I have a masters degree in computer
science, and working on a second masters in Library and Information
Science, and have undertaken numerous web development projects,
professionally, academically and commercially, so maintaining the Daniel
and Hostetter sites, along with several personal and professional pages
that I maintain is truly trivial for me. Diane Bradford actually has the
lions share of work in maintaining the Participants page. Personally, I
find the FTDNA generated pages rather dry, unattractive, not incredibly
intuitive for the average participant, and not particularly well
designed, to boot. I work for a large insurance company where privacy
issues are taken very seriously. Based on my background, I recognize I
may be more focused on privacy concerns than others are.
In my opinion there is a place in the project for everyone, even the 12
and 25 marker folks. Not every one has the same goal or game plan. Some
folks don't have the money to pay for higher marker kits, but want to be
involved, and others don't want to pay for a higher marker test until
they have at least one 12 marker match, and I am sure there are many
other reasons why folks do what they do. I completely agree that posting
these results is both misleading and wastes a lot of everyone's time,
especially for common surnames which have an incredibly large number of
I can see an argument for displaying the results as long as there is no
direct link to the participant, but still question the value of doing
so. I'd be interested in what value average participants see in this. I
guess I can see value in following Marlene's example and posting only
the results of 37 and higher marker tests, especially for projects for
common surnames. My impression to date is that most folks just want to
know who they are and are not related to.
I applaud your effort to get useful information about earliest proved
ancestors, but suggest there is value in having ancestor biographies
even for 12 and 25 marker folks. As noted before, I think this is where
the action is on any DNA web site. I encourage folks to do a factual
biography of their earliest proved ancestor and basic information about
their ancestor's children in order to allow as many folks as possible to
make a connection. I am also against posting of pedigrees on web sites
as there is too much potential for abuse.
Again, thanks for your thought provoking input, Marlene.
On Sat, 2009-08-29 at 07:44 -0700, Marleen Van Horne wrote:
Kevin and other yDNA Project Managers,
If you did not attend the FTDNA yDNA Conference in March, you are
probably not aware of the new tools being developed by FTDNA for
managing the Group Administrator Pages.
When I started my project, I made the decision to use the project pages
provided by FTDNA, others made the decision to put their project
information on other servers. With the new dashboard tools, I think
most of what any project manager would need would be available through
FTDNA. It is also easier because the test results are automatically
added to the page, and all the administrator has to do is put them in
the right group. Once placed in the correct group, FTTNA's sort
algorithm puts them in order by test results. In this way those
individuals with the most similar test results appear together
I really feel that a group administrator has some responsibility to
bring order to the information collected. This can be done without
violating the privacy of any of the project members. It can also be
done without pedigrees. I require ALL my project participants to
provide a brief line of descent pedigree. I also require a test of
either 37 or preferably 67 markers. Unfortunately, the 12 and 25 marker
tests do not provide enough information for genealogical matching. They
only provide haplogroup information. It is not practical for a project
manager or a project participant to research these low level matches, as
the common ancestor could be 40,000 years ago. I let my project
subscribers know this up front. In a couple of cases new subscribers
did not meet my requirements, while they are still in the project, I do
not include them in an identified group and I do not waste time
analyzing their test results. My project members know it is not worth
their time to pursue these matches. They also have not provided
pedigrees to me, so I figure they are cheating the other project members.
I also do not encourage the publication of pedigrees on the website,
because at one time there was a possibility of a competing company
mining information from the FTDNA website. I do, however, put related
individuals together privately, IF THEY WISH.
My projects are very small, as the surnames are extremely rare. I
realize that in large projects bringing structure to the information,
without violation a project members privacy is more difficult. I also
feel that without some type of organization the information is almost
These comments should not be taken as criticism as to the way other
admins manage the information in their projects. This is just my
approach, and I realize other admins have different approaches.
Marleen Van Horne
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