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  • Forum Statistics

    You can make statistics alot of the time say whatever you want them to. I remember watching an episode of The Goodies (for those unfamiliar read https://www.goodiesruleok.com/articles.php?id=56 ) entitled 'It Might As Well Be string', where they had a satirical piece about advertising and said
    "Nine out of every ten doctors agree that people who don't eat Sunbeam sliced bread will get squashed by elephants!"
    Then they mentioned it did take them a long time to find the nine doctors....

    I thought I would have an amateur go at compiling some of my own stats/conclusions from the figures on these Forum pages.

    Eg down bottom of page is
    Topics: 20,900 Posts: 204,193 Members: 22,123 Active Members: 178

    Here you could imply the following averages
    Posts: 204,193 / Members: 22,123 = Approx 9 Posts per member.
    Posts: 204,193 / Topics: 20,900 = Almost 10 posts per topic
    Active Members: 178 / Members: 22,123 = Only .8% members active
    This seems very low. Which might imply once people get the info they want from DNA land, they move on. The people who are still needing to cut through the brick walls remain along with all the new members?

    Most active forum:
    "DNA and Genealogy for Beginners" - 54,392 posts
    Which gives the impression either resources/guides for starting out in DNA/Genealogy are not adequate enough and people get confused etc, or from the other perspective - it is a complex field with many new terms and technical information for people to get their heads around.

    Second most busy forum is
    Family Finder Advanced Topics 31,079 posts.
    Looking at forum titles in here, it seems alot of queries are how to interpret the Finder results, amongst the Origins data vs GedMatch Admixtures comparisons, some about Triangulation, and how data compares to the other DNA Vendor results.

    3rd most busy forum is
    Grumbles & Gripes - 13,395 posts.
    This does tell you something about the forums and the company for it to be in 3rd position above alot of other more beneficial topics.
    All the recent SPAM on the boards not being dealt within a timely fashion is a good case in point.
    It is true most people have a tendency to complain rather than contribute positive feedback.
    Recent issues with site performance, trees not loading, changes to the dashboard, perceived (real or imaginary) lack of information/communication regarding status of test 'x', I'm surprised this grumble forum group isn't edging closing to number 2 position on posts. If the company took on board even some of the gripes/feedback and combined them with the suggestions in the other 'Features Requests' forum it would go along way to make site and it's features stand out from the DNA crowd.
    Here are a couple off top of my head....
    -Allow one account to manage multiple kits
    -Fix trees to allow easy navigation, not having to hit reset button just to get back a generation.
    -Origins info not accurate (hoping v3 fixes this)

    And down the bottom of forum page is that bit
    "Most users ever online was 1,811 at 11:02 PM on 31 May 2018."

    Anyone have any idea what happened in May of 2018 to cause this many to all go online at once?
    Or was DNA testing in it's zenith then and has dropped off recently with the privacy issues (eg Goldenstate / Gedmatch ) or for other reasons?

  • #2
    1. I think the "Active Members" figure may be for those who are currently logged in, not those who are more "active" in the sense that they post often. Also, there are people who register for the forums, ask one question, and never log in again. Others are around for a long time, but life (or death), or other interests, take precedence. I'm not exactly sure when the FTDNA Forums started, but think of how many people joined over probably the last 10 years at least, who are still kept in the members list but haven't logged in for many years. That could skew the ratio, even if the same amount of users were "active" over the years. You could check the "Member List" in the top left menu above, and get a sense of how many people haven't logged in for years. Yet, they are still members. Some do return after being away for long periods.
    2. Sure, "DNA and Genealogy for Beginners" would be a popular forum, especially for those new to DNA testing. I don't think it implies that other resources are not adequate enough. It could be that someone new to DNA testing simply does not know about other resources yet, and/or has not taken the trouble to search for them. Many people new to FTDNA are confused about their results, accounts, etc. here at FTDNA specifically, and if they find out there is a forum available, that can be the first place they might turn to.
    3. Agreed that people will more often complain than sing the praises of a company. The forums used to have FTDNA personnel assigned as moderators, but that has not been the case the last couple of years, at least. When there were moderators, they did try to report issues voiced in the forums. As it is now, and as far as we know, FTDNA does not monitor the forums. Many posts complain about issues specific to their account, and don't know to submit a Customer Support request to have FTDNA get involved directly. Others complain because they do not understand something. But, you are right that there are plenty of complaints about valid issues. The best way to complain is directly to FTDNA, not grousing in the forums, which is pretty much only good for sympathetic responses.
    4. I don't recall anything big happening exactly on 31 May 2018, but the European GPDR took effect on May 25, 2018. So there may have been a lot of posting in the FTDNA Forums about it and its potential consequences around that time. It could also be that there were 1,810 people online at times long before and after, and 31 May just happened to be the highest in the relatively recent past.
    I have seen the highs and lows of forum usage over time. It seemed to be quite the desert here not too long ago, but has picked up again. It could be that with the COVID-19 situation, people just have more time to visit the forums and post.

    Testing may have dropped off, but there may be more to it than just due to privacy reasons, such as the market waning or getting saturated for testing DNA for genealogy, or just to see biogeographical estimates. Roberta Estes discussed this subject in her blog post from February 2020, "DNA Testing Sales Decline: Reason and Reasons." It may have started in mid-2018, but seems to have been evident more recently.
    Last edited by KATM; 15 July 2020, 05:44 PM.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by KATM View Post
      [
      Testing may have dropped off, but there may be more to it than just due to privacy reasons, such as the market waning or getting saturated for testing DNA for genealogy, or just to see biogeographical estimates. Roberta Estes discussed this subject in her blog post from February 2020, "DNA Testing Sales Decline: Reason and Reasons." It may have started in mid-2018, but seems to have been evident more recently.
      Why was DNA once considered "cheating"?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by ewd76 View Post

        Why was DNA once considered "cheating"?
        In the sense that the word "cheating" was used in Roberta's article, she was talking about the very early use of DNA to solve genealogy problems (say, early to mid-2000s). The genealogy mailing lists and message boards she mentions had been around for a long time, with people discussing how they found records, seeking others searching the same lines, how to break brick walls, etc.

        Nowadays, most people in the general public have heard of DNA testing, and how many have used it for genealogy. But back when it was all new, the people who ran the lists and message boards may not have been familiar with the uses of DNA for genealogy, and felt that DNA was taking a shortcut, or "cheating," as Roberta terms it. They believed in all the hard work of finding records (which is still valid, of course), but were skeptical of the rising use of DNA to help solve genealogy problems.

        DNA testing for genealogy purposes is a tool. It must be used with traditional genealogy to solve mysteries in family research.
        Last edited by KATM; 21 July 2020, 12:04 PM.

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