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Group Administrator Guidelines for FTDNA Projects

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  • #46
    Other Questions

    Most of the comments so far have focused on the issue of permissions for upgrades and additions to projects. I'd like to return to a few other issues.

    "GAP Administrators shall not:

    Use a DNA project to advocate a personal or political agenda."

    This is worded very broadly and could create some difficulty. For example, I am "personally" very interested in focusing research on the origins of a particular surname and identifying particular lines of descent. Not all members of my project share that "agenda." Moreover, there is a "political" aspect to the research, in that it relates to competing claims to descent from titled ancestors.

    I would also think that if I were an academic researcher, for example, administering a large haplogroup project, that I might have a "personal" agenda of using the research in scientific publications or in achieving tenure. The wording of this prohibition, however, is unclear as to whether that would be permitted.

    "Gap administrators shall not:

    Use a DNA project to promote a business or commercial interest outside of the Family Tree DNA affiliate program."

    I understand the objectives of this provision, but it is unclear whether this excludes scientific and/or non-profit interests.

    In our project we are exploring the possibility of testing the remains of a long-deceased member of the aristocracy. To do so will involve the participation of several academic and commercial entities. For example, we will be using multiple testing laboratories, analyzing different samples, to maximize our chances of obtaining usable results. We also hope to publish the results and if successful, they might be used as part of a promotional program for some of the academic institutions involved. Some of these institutions are public and others are private. In addition, some fundraising to support the project will be required and this might involve contributions from both commercial entities and private individuals. Clarification of how the guidelines might apply would be helpful.

    "Any external website should specify that the DNA results are from Family Tree DNA. "

    Because of the inadequacies of FTDNA's autosomal project support, our project has an external website, open only to project members, that integrates autosomal matches from several sources. This provision would seem to prohibit that or require that an inaccurate statement be made.

    Finally, the issue of enforcement was raised upthread. As the former ethics committee chair of a non-profit professional association, I can testify that the enforcement of guidelines and the adjudication of complaints is a complex and time-consuming effort. (I might add that it is thankless!) It would be helpful to know how FTDNA plans to monitor compliance with the guidelines and what recourse administrators and project members would have in the case of a dispute. And no, I am not volunteering.

    Jim

    Comment


    • #47
      GA Guidelines

      Rebekah,

      Due to some 'idiots' out there who abused the trust of members and FTDNA, new clearer guidelines are needed. I especially like the reservation about FTDNA removing offender GAs/AGAs.

      I have reported one or two over the years to FTDNA after trying to educate them to no avail.

      FYI - Most GAs do not monitor this forum. Most GAs are members of ISOGG who helped set web page standards before FTDNA had FTDNA hosted web pages. Many ISOGG suggestions led to many changes at FTDNA over the years.

      First Problem seen on first go through ...

      New guideline as written:

      Group Administrators shall not use this access to:
      ...
      •Publish research or information that may disclose or identify a member’s
      personal information without the written permission of the person tested and those who paid for the test.

      The term 'publish research' is often used to indicate genealogical material researched by the member and provided for comparison to others.
      The term 'personal information' - does this include FTDNA ID numbers? No where does it say it is okay to use such.
      Then there is 'without the written permission of the person tested and those who paid for the test.'

      As written ... No more publishing their genealogical research in any way for lineage comparisons without written permission. Emails no longer accepted?

      As written ... My project uses emails and now requiring 'written permission' from the member AND the payer of the test effectively shuts down all DNA projects who use just emails.

      Finally this current policy does not indicate beneficiaries or co-members (in care of) of kits being authorized to do anything. A statement should be included that members include such individuals.

      NOTE: It is only later in the section where the following is found;
      'Written authorization – either on paper or via e-mail – is required. When ordering through customer support, that proof must be provided to staff before an order will be placed.'

      From a legal view point the placement is deliberate and clear. That above it requires written permission as written. That below this requires written authorization. These are two distinct requirements.

      Suggestion:
      I would like to see the option on the member's FTDNA personal results page the option (check box?) of allowing
      1) Permission to use their lineage for comparison purposes.
      2) Allow upgrades by the GA if paid by the project.
      3) Allowing Y-DNA results to be posted on the project Non-FTDNA website.
      4) Allowing the GA to be the beneficiary, if no other beneficiary is designated or such designated beneficiary declines via email to FTDNA.


      Second Problem ...

      New guidelines as written:

      Display of Results
      ...
      All websites that are currently (as of March 1, 2014) externally hosted will
      be transitioned to a Family Tree DNA landing page that links to the external
      site.

      If a Group Administrator chooses to host an additional website elsewhere, it must follow the same standards as a Family Tree DNA based website. Any external website should specify that the DNA results are from Family Tree DNA.
      ...
      If a Group Administrator chooses to host an additional website elsewhere, it must follow the same standards as a Family Tree DNA based website.

      This new policy forces new potential members, investigators and such directly to the FTDNA hosted web site regardless of the use of such. This adds more links and steps that should not be needed. At last check this forced move has not yet happened.

      I personally think this is wrong. We link the FTDNA hosted web page for the project on our web page. That should be good enough.

      Our external project web page includes members from other DNA testing companies and has been published on line since 2003. This includes marker results from those other DNA testing companies. We clearly indicate which markers are from where. And to be even clearer, we even duplicate a few markers for convenience in our table results. FTDNA is one of several different DNA testing companies and not the only one.

      Our external project web page meets or exceeds the minimum ISOGG standards for web pages.

      To be honest, the FTDNA hosted web pages are far better than they used to be. When they were first started the data results page were very slow loaders and the format did not meet ISOGG minimum standards.

      If we use 'the same standards as a Family Tree DNA based website' then most who meet the ISOGG standards must lower our standards to FTDNA standards. That is wrong.

      Suggestion:
      The statement should be changed to: 'the same minimum standards ...'

      No doubt other issues will come forth.

      John R. Carpenter
      Carpenter Cousins Project
      http://carpentercousins.com

      Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project
      http://www.carpentercousins.com/carpdna.htm

      Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project lineage page
      http://www.carpentercousins.com/generallineage.htm

      Comment


      • #48
        Originally posted by MoberlyDrake View Post
        While I might like it if someone paid to upgrade my father's or my cousin's test, I'm not certain group administrators should be able to do it without the express permission of the kit owner. Suppose the person who tested has passed away and there is only one vial of his/her DNA left in storage. The kit owner might be wanting to leave that vial untouched for future developments in DNA testing and might be dismayed, if not downright angry to find that group administrators had used up all the stored DNA without their knowledge!
        Originally posted by jrcrin001 View Post
        Suggestion:
        I would like to see the option on the member's FTDNA personal results page the option (check box?) of allowing
        1) Permission to use their lineage for comparison purposes.
        2) Allow upgrades by the GA if paid by the project.
        3) Allowing Y-DNA results to be posted on the project Non-FTDNA website.
        4) Allowing the GA to be the beneficiary, if no other beneficiary is designated or such designated beneficiary declines via email to FTDNA.
        Yes, the permissions issues worry me. I like the suggestions presented above. It's something that should be established when someone first tests. I have some project members who are completely incommunicado - they won't upgrade, and I can't do it for them. It's frustrating. As others have mentioned, many of our participants are technologically challenged. Getting them to add a beneficiary is like pulling teeth. They think it's a hassle to join Ysearch.org and don't understand how or why they should join a haplogroup project. These are things I could do for them so easily, but am apparently not allowed to. I know some project members would like to stand back and let me do it all for them, which I don't mind. It's much quicker for me to do it than to explain to them how to do it.

        Perhaps I missed it, but is there an official stance on third-party websites such as GEDmatch.com and Promethease.com? I don't see either one as being competitive with FTDNA, and they've often been the icing on the cake used to entice people into taking the Family Finder test.

        P.S. I know this may annoy some administrators, which I regret... but I much prefer the option to see the FTDNA project website. Anytime the only option available to view is some razzmatazz website where I must scan through the entire homepage twice, click through several links just to see the results relevant to me... well, it's a bit of a turn-off. I find the FTDNA template to be much cleaner and easier to make sense of. When I want to see markers, I want the FTDNA site. If I want more detailed genealogical information, then I might go look at the fancy website. My preference is that both options be provided. Just my two cents.

        Comment


        • #49
          GA Guidelines - Compare to ISOGG GA Guidelines

          Rebekah,

          Many years ago, Bennett and Catherine Borges (ISOGG) developed basic ethical Group Administrator guidelines. These have been updated and monitored by ISOGG leadership.

          See:
          http://www.isogg.org/wiki/ISOGG_Proj...tor_Guidelines

          http://www.isogg.org/wiki/Ethics

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intern...etic_Genealogy

          May I suggest that a review of ISOGG posted GA guidelines will help eliminate most of the problems mentioned with the current FTDNA GA guidelines?

          John R. Carpenter
          Carpenter Cousins Project
          http://carpentercousins.com

          Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project
          http://www.carpentercousins.com/carpdna.htm

          Carpenter Cousins Y-DNA Project lineage page
          http://www.carpentercousins.com/generallineage.htm

          Comment


          • #50
            [QUOTE=jrcrin001;378919]Rebekah,

            May I suggest that a review of ISOGG posted GA guidelines will help eliminate most of the problems mentioned with the current FTDNA GA guidelines?

            I agree; they are clear, concise and have the advantage of being endorsed by a recognized industry authority.

            Jim

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by Trevor View Post
              As far as testees listing their earliest ancestor is concerned, I as admin do that after having thoroughly researched the testee's ancestry from scratch myself to make sure it is correct. No one has ever complained.
              Do you just go in and change/add it? While I don't specifically see it forbidden in the guidelines, I guess I just personally considered doing that in the same category as changing contact information, authorizing upgrades without consent, etc., which are forbidden. I wouldn't do anything to a person's personal page without their consent. I know I wouldn't want the administrator of the surname project I am in doing that to my page.

              Comment


              • #52
                Finally...

                Two project admins had abused my account and my personal info before these changes. I hope these new rules will stop them violate the member privacy.

                It is also good to know they (project administrators) will not use the DNA results they have access to as a tool in support of their political agenda, from now on.

                Late but a needed step this was .
                Last edited by genis; 9 March 2014, 02:19 PM.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by Rebekah Canada View Post
                  You have always been one of my favorite admins too, Jim. I take it you would like that part removed from the next update?
                  Yes, that needs to be removed.

                  Note they say - "You will be notified of any substantial changes, but it is your responsibility to be aware of changes." Yes, we were notified here, but how many admins were send a copy of these changes? I wasn't. Just one more example of FTDNA's poor communications.

                  If FTDNA wants me to consider them #1 they need to make some changes in the right direction. I've had it with bad changes. Of course I remember when I could send a message to the help desk and Bennett would personally respond and it seemed like he did it 24 hours a day. I know that can no longer happen

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    How will all this apply to "private projects"? The only reason I applied for a project for my family is that people on this forum repeatedly recommended it as a way to handle multiple kits and passwords without having to sign into and log out of each kit every time you wanted to compare info for 2 or more of your kits. My project has no website or newsletter connected with it. If I discover something I can easily inform my own family members.

                    I have let 2 other people join because they thought there might be a relationship in a particular line.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      need clarification about 'transitioning' projects

                      Rebekah:
                      I need clarification on the following section of GAP guidelines:

                      "All websites that are currently (as of March 1, 2014) externally hosted will be transitioned to a Family Tree DNA landing page that links to the external site."

                      I am a co-administrator of four projects, three of which now use the FTDNA 'public website" for display. [One of these three originally used an 'external’ website, but transitioned to the FTDNA 'public' website when the three administrators experienced health issues at the same time and we wanted to make sure our work was safe.]

                      The fourth project that I work on -- which has been in place since July 2003 -- has an 'external' website, hosted by 'rootsweb freepages' – not World Families. In 2003, the FTDNA 'public website' was not user friendly for project administrators or participants. [Currently, when people search for surname projects from FTDNA's front page, the url for this surname 'external' project is what is displayed.] Probably 95% of the participants on this surname project are FTDNA customes, but we also display results (for Y-DNA) submitted to us by people who have tested at other testing companies. This is a benefit for all of members of the project. I can't tell you how many people on project, who originally tested at other companies, have gone on to order a complete re-test at FTDNA, but it is a healthy percentage.

                      I am not understanding what it means, "All websites that are currently (as of March 1, 2014) externally hosted will be transitioned to a Family Tree DNA landing page that links to the external site." Does this mean the url for the 'external' website will NOT be displayed when people search for this particular surname on FTDNA's home page?

                      Thanks!!!
                      Carol Vass
                      Kent, WA

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        I think it is obvious that many administrators object to the new guidelines. I suggest that FTNDA rescind these guidelines immediately, rethink them, rewrite them and re-publish them.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Originally posted by Jim Barrett View Post
                          I think it is obvious that many administrators object to the new guidelines. I suggest that FTNDA rescind these guidelines immediately, rethink them, rewrite them and re-publish them.
                          The main responsibility is on FTDNA's shoulders, not the project administrators.

                          FTDNA has to protect my rights against any abuse. If not, FTDNA will be charged by the law. Not The voluntary admins.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by jrcrin001 View Post

                            Suggestion:
                            I would like to see the option on the member's FTDNA personal results page the option (check box?) of allowing
                            1) Permission to use their lineage for comparison purposes.
                            2) Allow upgrades by the GA if paid by the project.
                            3) Allowing Y-DNA results to be posted on the project Non-FTDNA website.
                            4) Allowing the GA to be the beneficiary, if no other beneficiary is designated or such designated beneficiary declines via email to FTDNA.


                            John R. Carpenter
                            At the Very Least, #2 and #4 should be on the Project Page, or for specific project, not universally for all projects the person joins.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              My questions/comments:

                              "If a Group Administrator chooses to host an additional website elsewhere, it must follow the same standards as a Family Tree DNA based website. Any external website should specify that the DNA results are from Family Tree DNA. The project must keep test results current at all times. This is accomplished with code provided in the GAP."

                              1. Define "standards." Are we talking anonymity of results, order of markers, color of column headings, or what?

                              2. It appears that I will have to label the participants that have been tested at FTDNA. Okay, but out of fairness I'm also going to note who was tested by AncestryDNA, the Sorenson project, RelativeGenetics, DNAHeritage, etc. What constitutes specifying the results came from FTDNA-- putting a tag with the row ID in the table, so for example I would be FTDNA 6897? But this question (and the previous one) could be moot, because...

                              3. You expect me to insert code into my web page to display FTDNA results? I don't think so. I don't believe you'd allow me to add a script to insert into my project's FTDNA-hosted page content that you have not seen or approved. I hand-code the HTML results table so that lines are grouped together no matter what company, no matter how long ago, the person tested with. I can't add my DNAH-tested "Group A" people to Group A on my project's FTDNA-hosted page, so please allow me to create the table on my own site so that I may do so. If FTDNA is going to bully external websites into displaying FTDNA results in one FTDNA-code-generated table, and the results from other companies in a second table, destroying family grouping, FTDNA is just going to look petty.

                              As a side note, the non-FTDNA website for my project has more genealogical background than the official FTDNA site; because the non-FTDNA site existed long before FTDNA began hosting project pages, many of those tested years ago do not list a paternal ancestor name in their FTDNA data. For those that do (and of course, for those tested at other companies) the information on the non-FTDNA site has not only the paternal ancestor, but descent from that ancestor, usually to a grandfather or ancestor living in 1900.


                              "Group Administrators shall not use this access to:
                              'Use member information or e-mail address to send any correspondence unrelated to the Group Project.'"

                              Huh? When someone sends a join request, I explain what the DNA project and Y-DNA testing are, and ask for family information to insure that the person is indeed a candidate for our surname project. (How many times have I been told that their surname connection is through great-grandma?) Often we develop a rapport and correspond for several weeks, usually on how to research their family tree. Is FTDNA suggesting that once I say yea or nay to their join request, I never talk to them again, at least through the email address they use for FTDNA?


                              On a bright note, at least these GA requirements don't have the paragraph threatening removal of an admin after each point, like that version a few months ago did...

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by genis View Post
                                The main responsibility is on FTDNA's shoulders, not the project administrators.

                                FTDNA has to protect my rights against any abuse. If not, FTDNA will be charged by the law. Not The voluntary admins.
                                FTDNA wouldn't have much to offer beyond the other companies if it weren't for project admins.

                                Any time you don't like what an admin is doing to you/your kit you can remove yourself from the project. As an adult I expect to have to watch out for myself.

                                Comment

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