Family Tree DNA New Privacy Settings

As you may or may not have noticed, Family Tree DNA recently implemented more options in the privacy and sharing section of everyone’s personal DNA page.  That’s both the good news and the bad news.

Recent queries from group participants as to why their results were not showing in projects after they joined sent me on a quest to find out why.  The answer is that the new privacy and security settings at Family Tree DNA now default to a setting on new kit purchases that causes new participants results to not show in projects.  Another symptom is that as a project administrator, you’ll be able to see the participants results in your project, but you won’t be able to see their results in other projects they have joined when trying to help them with something like understanding haplogroup project grouping assignments.

In today’s more litigious society, giving people these types of options is not only a good thing, it’s necessary.  Now the bad news.  In the past, when you joined a project, your DNA results were automatically being shared on the project page, if the project had a public page.  That was the point of joining a project and is what everyone has come to expect.

privacy and sharing not sharing

Please note that people who were already clients when these new options were added, so who had already joined projects and were sharing, were not set to the default of not sharing, and were set to the value of sharing.  So if you were previously in a project and your results were being displayed, they still are.  This only affects new kit purchases.  Based on a kit I purchased on March 31, 2015, this new feature was implemented sometime after the middle of February and before the end of March, but I don’t know exactly when.

As more and more people purchase these kits with the default option set to not sharing, more and more administrators are finding themselves being asked why results are not showing up in projects…and asking themselves this same question.  The answer is, of course, that the defaults are now set for not sharing – but no one knows that.  The participants are not ASKED this question and they have no idea THAT this is happening, that there is a problem…or that they need to DO anything to rectify the situation.

Furthermore, most administrators aren’t aware of this either.  What this means, is that kits purchased since this change was made are NOT SHARING, but no one is aware of that until they stumble over it by accident.

Therefore, as interested parties and project administrators, we need to inform our participants of this default selection and that it needs to be changed.  Please feel free to share this article to accomplish this goal.

I very much hope that Family Tree DNA will implement a stepped process with options and educational “balloon boxes” so that both new participants and people whose results are now set to “not share” will be able to make selection choices when they set their account up or when they join projects.  Testers need to understand what they are being asked to select, why, and how their selections will affect their results and experience, both today and into the future.  Defaulting to not sharing is counter-productive and I fear that new testers will inadvertently be eliminated from project matching and grouping when that wasn’t their intention at all.

So, let’s take a look at the newest Family Tree DNA privacy and sharing options and how they affect participants, projects and project administrators.

Privacy and Sharing

You reach the privacy and sharing options by clicking on the “Manage Personal Information” link in the “Your Account” box to the left of your personal page at Family Tree DNA.

privacy and sharing

By clicking on the orange link, you’ll see the following Account Settings.

privacy and sharing profile

While you’re here, you may want to update your profile information.

On all selections, don’t forget to click on SAVE, or it won’t.

privacy and sharing save

Now, let’s move on to the privacy and sharing tab, to the far right of the options on the tab at the top.  Privacy and sharing options are divided into three sections.

privacy and sharing tab2

The selections greyed out on the right are the current default settings when you purchase a new kit.  There are no instructions or step-through dialogue boxes to help participants understand how these selections will affect who can see their results, and how that will affect their experience with DNA testing.

Needless to say, the power of DNA testing is sharing ancestral and genealogical information.  Otherwise, there is truly no reason to test.  Family Tree DNA has recently implemented changes which allow participants to select various levels of sharing.

Unfortunately, the default settings are in essence “off” for project sharing, once someone joins a project, which creates a great deal of confusion for participants and project administrators alike.

Participants presume their results are being shared, just the like results of the people they match.  Project administrators have no idea that the participants results aren’t being displayed in the projects, and when they discover that little tidbit, they have no idea why the results aren’t being displayed – because they always were before.

The Privacy and Sharing options are divided into three sections, My Profile, My DNA Results and Account Access

Let’s look at these one section at a time.

My Profile

Who can view my Most Distant Ancestor?

Default Setting:  Only You

This means that no one you match can see your most distant ancestor.

Options:  Share my Most Distant Ancestor with other people in projects that I’ve joined.

Creating an exception.

It appears that you can select to share within all projects (that you’ve joined), but elect to omit some projects, or you can select to not share with all projects, but to elect to share with only select projects.

privacy and sharing most distant ancestor

Note that I manage several kits with the same surname.  The default for both existing and new accounts is “only you”.  I checked and the most distant ancestor does show in both projects and matching when the “only you” selection is selected.  I suspect this is a bug, but currently, it’s how this option is functioning.  If this options starts functioning as it appears that it is supposed to, all of a sudden, your most distant ancestor information may disappear.  If so, this is why and this option needs to be changed to “share with other people in projects.”

Of course, this entire question presumes you’ve entered your most distant ancestor information.

Please enter your most distant ancestor for both your male paternal (father’s surname) line and your matrilineal (mother’s mother’s mother’s) line on the Genealogy Tab, under Most Distant Ancestors, shown below.

privacy and sharing most distant ancestor setup

If you don’t enter this information, your “Most Distant Ancestor” won’t be listed in projects, example below, so if other people from this line are looking to see if their line has tested, that information won’t be available to them.

privacy and sharing project

Furthermore, if your information isn’t there, it can’t and won’t be displayed to your matches.  You certainly want that information from your matches, so be sure to provide it for your matches to see as well.  In the example below, the first person did not complete this information, but the second person did.  As it turns out, they both descend from the same ancestor, but the person matching them can’t tell, because one person doesn’t have their Most Distant Ancestor listed.

privacy and sharing match

Who can see me in project member lists?

Default:  Project Administrators


privacy and sharing project member list

This selection works in tandem with how the project administrators of various projects you may have joined choose to implement the project display.  In other words, if the project isn’t public, then the “anyone” option is meaningless, because the public won’t be able to see the project at all.

hap q front page

Fortunately, most projects are publicly displayed.

The next question about this option is what, exactly, and where is a project member list?

When you visit any project, you will see a front page.  On that page, you will see several options relating to that project.  In the Kvochick project, there are 5 members.  If you click on the 5 members, that should display the list of the names of project members.

kvochick dna page

The default setting is only for project administrators to see the names.  In this case, your name would not appear in this list if clicked on by anyone other than the project administrator.

The second option would be for project members only, and the third option would be for the general public.

Please note that as of the writing of this article, I tested several projects and none had clickable numbers, so this option does not appear to be implemented at this time.

My DNA Results

Who can view my ethnic breakdown in myOrigins?

Default:  Project Administrators


privacy and sharing myorigins

Your two options are to share with your matches, or not share with your matches.  Do not share is the default.

Here is an example of people who are sharing ethnic results in myOrigins.  If you are not sharing, your name would not appear on this list for your matches on the bottom left.

privacy and sharing myorigins example

Lastly, the only ethnicity that is shared with your matches is an ethnicity they have as well.  In this case, the participant only has European ethnicity, so that is the only portion of his matches ethnicity that is shown to him.

Who can view my DNA results in group projects?

This new option is the one causing havoc with administrators and projects.

Default:  Make my mtDNA and Y-DNA private.  It will only be shown to people in my project.

Options:  Make my mtDNA and Y-DNA public.

privacy and sharing group projects

I strongly, strongly suggest that you make this selection public.  Let me give you an example of why.

Let’s say I’m a female, and I want to know if my paternal line has tested.  I would check the appropriate surname project.

In this case, let’s say I’m looking to see if any descendants of John Harrold (Herrell, Harrell, Harrald) who died in 1825 in Wilkes County, NC have tested.

When people share their results, you will be able to find out if your line has tested.

You can see in the example below that my Harrold line is group 7 in the Harrell project, so I now know my line has tested, and I can see my haplogroup designation and Y markers for John’s line.

privacy and sharing Harrell

If none of these John Harrold descendants had elected to share, then I would never be able to find this information.  If you’re looking for any of your ancestral surnames, you won’t be able to find those lines either – if the people who test don’t share.  If people who are looking to test don’t see their ancestral line, they will think there is no one to compare to, and they may be discouraged from testing.  This is certainly not what we want.

The problem today is that people who purchase tests don’t know they aren’t sharing – they assume they are.  Before these new privacy options became available, by default, if you joined a project, you WERE sharing.  Now, new participants aren’t sharing – even though they joined the project – unless they change their options.

Furthermore, if you are a project member, let’s say of the Harrell project, and one of the administrators is trying to help you understand your results in a haplogroup project, the Harrell administrator can’t see your results in the haplogroup project either – so we can’t help you.


To not share this information defeats the entire purpose of DNA testing.

The most information that any project at Family Tree DNA can reveal is the kit number, surname (only) of tester, paternal (or maternal) most distant ancestor name, country of origin, haplogroup and the DNA markers (Y 12-111 and mtDNA HVR1 and HVR2 only) for which the individual has tested.  Below, a sample project is shown with the maximum amount of information categories shown (except I’ve truncated the markers shown to the right for space reasons.)

privacy and sharing most shown

To review the project setting, by default, only project members who are signed into their account and looking at the project can view your data.  Anyone who is not a project member and not signed into their account cannot see your data in the project

If you select public, anyone looking at the public project page can see your results, like the example above – assuming that the project itself is public.  This is only valid for Y and mtDNA HVR1 and HVR2 data, as mitochondrial DNA coding region and autosomal DNA results are never displayed publicly.

Who can view my mtDNA Coding Region mutations?

Default:  Only you.


Privacy and sharing mtDNA coding

If you have tested at the mitochondrial full sequence level, you will have tested the full HVR1, HVR2 and coding regions.  While the HVR1 and HVR2 regions are not currently known to reveal medical conditions, the coding region has the potential to carry some medical information.  Therefore, your coding region is NEVER displayed publicly, in a project.  Displaying the coding region is not an option.  If you elect to share your coding region mutations privately, that is up to you.

However, in order for mitochondrial DNA project administrators to correctly group you in mitochondrial DNA projects, they must be able to see your coding region results to know where your mutations fall.

Therefore, you can authorize project administrators to view the coding region results, by project.  In the example above, the individual is only a member of one project.  In order to authorize the Estes project administrator to view the coding region, click the box and then Save.

Account Access

How much access to Project Administrators have to my account?

Default:  Limited


privacy and sharing project admin access

What do the various authorization levels allow?  Here’s the list.

privacy and sharing admin access

If you have given an administrator full access to your account, which means you have given them your kit number and password, they have full access to everything and that supercedes these options.

Who has full access to my account?

Default:  Only You

Options:  Give the administrator your kit number and password.

privacy and sharing admin full access

Obviously, if you have privately e-mailed your kit number and password to an admin or anyone, Family Tree DNA has no way of knowing or tracking that.

Genealogy Tab

You will find a few more options that affect how your Family Tree is displayed on the Genealogy tab.

privacy and sharing genealogy tab

If you have uploaded a GEDCOM file or completed a family tree online at Family Tree DNA, who can be seen in your tree, and by whom, is controlled by this setting.

Having an entirely private tree is the same as having no tree and is not useful to anyone, so I really have no idea why someone would do this.

Of course, you can always see which of your matches has a tree available and can click on the pedigree icon to view your matches tree, if they authorize matches to view their tree.  On the example below of a Y DNA matching page, the first two participants do have a family tree, as indicated by the little blue pedigree icon, and the third individual does not.

privacy and sharing pedigree

I encourage everyone to either upload your GEDCOM file or create a family tree online at Family Tree DNA.  You can do either by clicking on the Family Tree Link on your myFTDNA menu at the top left of your personal page.

privacy and sharing upload gedcom

Including a family tree makes finding a common ancestor so much easier.  Genetic genealogy is all about sharing and collaboration – and finding those ancestors!

Public Search

Family Tree DNA recently implemented a public search function that allows public searches of online trees and GEDCOMS.

Why would someone search like this?  To see if people from their genealogocal lines have tested.  In other words, people wondering if they should test.  Allowing your tree to be seen publicly is in essence, cousin bait – of course you want them to test – the more the merrier and the better chance you have of breaking down those brick walls.

privacy and sharing search box

Below is an example of how your tree privacy selection, made under the Genealogy Tab above, impacts what can be seen by a public search.

privacy and sharing search

As an example, I did a public search for my ancestor, Jotham Brown.  Sure enough, there are several people at Family Tree DNA who have good ole Jotham in their trees.  That’s great – because it means I have a chance of matching some of them using the Family Finder test.

In the results above, you can see the three options for how trees are listed:

  • Entirely private such that you need to test and will only see the tree if you match
  • Public tree noted by the name of the owner
  • Tree included but noted as private member – which just means the name of the tree owner is not displayed

You can see the actual trees of both the public and private trees that are shown with clickable links.  You cannot see the tree of the private family tree with no link.

Clicking on the trees shows you the following example, depending on the tree display options you’ve selected.  The tree below has selected to mask living people and people deceased within a hundred years.

privacy and sharing tree2

Both trees labeled with a source and private member trees are shown, but with the privacy screening you’ve selected.  The only difference I’ve been able to find between those two options is that the source tree name is given for the public trees, and is not for the private member trees.  However, there is no contact information for the public trees (or any trees), so this is not a way to contact other genealogists.  You can only contact them if you have a match through DNA testing.

The third option is that completely private trees are only shown to matches.  These are noted as a private family tree and the searcher is instructed to purchase a Family Finder test to see if they match.  That is, after all, the goal!!!

privacy and sharing search2

Hopefully this search function will encourage more people to test.  After all, other people who descend from their ancestor are in the data base!


Privacy settings have changed and we have to figure out the best way to work with the new features.

Let’s make sure our new participants understand their settings and what needs to be changed in order to have their results displayed in the manner they desire.

As always, the way to obtain the best genetic genealogy experience is by sharing.  That’s what collaborative research and crowd-sourcing is all about.  Everyone shares individually and the power of the group is what gives genetic genealogy its awesome results.

So, the 4 key elements for successful sharing are to:

  • Set your project sharing status to public, not private.
  • Enter your most distant ancestor information
  • Share your most distant ancestor information with matches and projects
  • Upload your GEDCOM file or create a family tree at Family Tree DNA

37 thoughts on “Family Tree DNA New Privacy Settings

  1. Is there any way a project admin can identify the kits in his project that have default privacy settings that prevent public display of data?

    • I don’t know of any way other than looking at the test date and going in and individually looking at each kit that has tested this year. I know those from March to now are defaulted to not share.

  2. I agree these defaults are poor design from a user’s perspective. They were pushed by a small group of EU administrators due to the belief that fewer Europeans would test unless they are granted absolute privacy, even if they desire to join a group to share results! As a group administrator it is hilarious to see on the Surname Project’s news feed – [anonymous] new member has joined… Usability of the site by newly-tested users has been diminished as a result – without actually surveying customers to learn what they prefer. I’m more concerned about rogue project administrators who may be using data surreptitiously for third-party research projects or sharing these data outside of FTDNA without permission. Permission settings do not protect a user from administrator abuses, and administrators are not FTDNA employees.

    • “Fewer Europeans would test unless they are granted absolute privacy?”

      Really? They can do that now and simply not join any projects.
      I don’t think it is likely that many uber-private people would join a project anyway.

  3. I would like to share my info from an Ancestrydna but the results told me I was 33% Irish but my father was 1/2 Welsh. could they have been mistaken? My mother was 100% Danish and it showed me to be 51% Scandanavian, so that checks out, but Irish?

    • The Irish and the Welsh are both Celtic peoples with strong ties due to proximity. The Irish also have heavy Scandinavian roots. Remember that it’s all approximated and based on self-reporting, so the percentages you’re given will never be completely accurate.

  4. What does FTDNA say is the reason for this change and why have they not bothered to notify individuals and project administrators?

  5. FTDNA MyGroups fixes and suggestions
    By Debbie Kennett, Chris Rottensteiner et al. Feb. 2015 [please list all contributors equally]
    Please leave your name when making edits. Discussions have been moved to the end of the document to support a better overview. Please continue to discuss there. If your opinion on a topic is misinterpreted just edit. For World Families specific issues see the blog post by Terry Barton:
    Lisa Janine Cloud “I printed the document at about 3:45 Houston time [18th Feb.] and took it into a meeting with the Chief Technical Officer, the Lead programmer for FTDNA, Lead visual designer and Elliott Greenspan. We discussed some urgent items that were not on this list, and some that were. The general response was positive, but I’ll have specifics for you by Friday afternoon or Monday. Items involving privacy will be addressed first, as I’m sure you would all agree is as it should be. Thank you for taking the time to put together such a detailed and prioritized list. The team really appreciates it, as do I.”

    Update from Janine Cloud [19 Feb 21.43 London time]: As of a few minutes ago, the team pushed a release that will do the following:
    1. Have a setting in GAP allowing the administrator to choose to activate or disable the activity feed.
    2. Automate coupon generation. The coupon will be pushed at 10am Central daily and be good for 24 hours.
    3. Activate two privacy settings pertaining to the “Members List” that is a part of myGroups. These 2 settings will allow users to keep their name and most distant ancestor from showing on the “Members List”. The settings are on the “Privacy & Sharing” tab in myFTDNA and will allow each kit to determine whether they want to be shown in the Member List.
    4. Make the member list visible only to the admin by default, but gives the admin the ability to set the member list to be visible to members only or to the public.
    5. Update the the default page that will load when going to a myGroups website. If the user is not logged into a kit and goes to a project’s myGroup website, they will see the “About” section.& nbsp; If a user is logged into their kit and then go to a myGroups website, they will see the activity feed.
    6. Update the Terms of Service. Family Tree DNA – Privacy Policy
    We’ll be continuing to evaluate feedback and tweaking the product.

    Thank you, Janine! These are very welcome changes to many of us. At your convenience and when there is a response, I look forward to any word about enabling direct email access to admins, so that people can still privately contact us. Otherwise, my understanding is that transitioning the project would immediately cut off potential members (and others) from access to us. Martha Hicks

    [Leake Little – May I suggest an additional formatting to simplify the document? Bugs – high priority; Everything else the same priority such that FTDNA may rank them in feedback to us? All of the topics are important but we should not limit their response to simply disagreeing with our suggested gradations of priority. If we get a group of items to choose from then that would be the time to build consensus for a cardinal order amongst our group. That’s a suggestion for your consideration, not a table stake. These are all great ideas and important inputs is my main point, regardless of authorship or emotions.]

    Bugs – to address/correct ASAP
    BUG – access while in GAP: while logged in in GAP myGroups Projects and other FTDNA pages can’t be accessed like expected (Timeouts, missing content). Could (typo edited by E. Aulicino) be related to the used Browser (Firefox)? by Chris Rottensteiner (A)
    BUG – Removing family crest crashes web app process: by Wayne Kauffman (A)
    Have a family crest in place
    Click Select New Image
    Click Continue button
    Click Save Profile button
    CRASH Bandicott!
    3. Bug – Site times out on Family Tree diagrammer repeatedly. This is a recurring and recreatable bug. Often times it is simply left in suspense and a screen refresh does not stop or otherwise correct the problem of the requested data being displayed – this is a more specific example of Bug #1 reported by Chris R [Leake Little]

    Highest Priority (A)
    Privacy Member Names: The names of project members are currently being displayed in the newsfeed menu when a new member joins the project. The full names are clearly visible when hovering over the head and shoulders icon. There seems to be no way to change the settings so that the names can be hidden. Not all project members appreciate having their names known to other project members and their names should not be revealed without their explicit permission. The ability to reveal your name to other project members should be an opt-in feature.
    Proposed by Debbie Kennett (A), Pros: Chris Rottensteiner (A), Martha Hicks (A), Martha Bowes; Pro Aliases: Doris Wheeler; Cons: John Beardsley, Leake Little (A)
    There is Controversy about this Topic. Probably an Option for it is appropriate and FTDNA should decide what is the presetting. See Discussion at the End.
    Allow individuals to opt out of having their name displayed in project member lists. At the moment members who do not wish to have their name revealed to other project members have to withdraw from the project if the admin has chosen to make the member list available to the group. This should be an opt in feature and not an opt out feature. Proposed by Debbie Kennett (A)
    Restrict the member list to project administrators by default. Making project members’ names available to other project members is a major change to the previous privacy settings and should not be implemented without individual consent. Proposed by Debbie Kennett (A)
    Admin E-mail link: As a priority could we please have the ability restored for people to click on an administrator’s name on the public website and send an e-mail. The e-mail facility is currently only enabled for people who are already in the project.
    Proposed by Debbie Kennett (A), Pros: Chris Rottensteiner (A), Martha Hicks (A), Rick Saunders (A), Martha Bowes (A) Carol Vass (A) Emily Aulicino (A) . See Discussion at the End.
    Sticky Posts: Ability to ‘sticky’ up to 3 posts preferred, but at least 1 desired
    Proposed by John Beardsley (B), Pros: Chris Rottensteiner (B), Martha Hicks (B), Martha Bowes (B), Debbie Kennett (B)
    About Us in Nav: It would be helpful if the tabs on the About Us page could be added as links from the main menu on the left (ie, overview, background, goals, news, results, project statistics, code of conduct).
    Proposed by Debbie Kennett (B), Pros: Chris Rottensteiner (B), Martha Hicks (B), Martha Bowes (B), Elizabeth O’Donoghue/Ross (B)
    Allow admins to moderate specific individuals so their posts can be moderated before appearing on the timeline.
    Proposed by Martha Bowes (A), Pros: Chris Rottensteiner (B), Martha Hicks (A); Neutral: Debbie Kennett; Cons: Leake Little (A), John Beardsley
    There is Controversy about this Topic. Probably Time will tell needs. See Discussion at the End.
    Equal access to MyGroups for all project admins, including co-admins. In projects where there are admins and co-admins one person may be designated to monitor the myGroups activity. In my case it is a co-admin. However, she cannot access the myGroups as I can. ALL admins and co-admins need the ability to access and monitor the myGroups site equally once the Admin has it up and running. We need to share this work! AND, if someone is ill or out of town, another person has equal access. I do not like specifying one person for a job if it locks them in as the person could be ill or out of town. However, all the admins and co-admins need equal access. Proposed by Emily Aulicino (A)
    Allow admins to switch off the coupon code offers and choose to implement them manually as and when required. The volume of posts is overwhelming in small projects with under ten members. Proposed by Debbie Kennett (A).
    Allow admins to bulk delete posts about expired coupon codes or have them autodeleted after a designated period (24 hours? seven days). Proposed by Connie McKenzie (A). Pros: Debbie Kennett (A), Jim Barrett (A), Emily Aulicino (A), Lew Townsend. See discussion below.
    Allow admins to choose the type of notifications that they receive relating to the activity feed. In particular there should be a way to opt out of receiving notifications for “likes” on every comment. Proposed by Charles Moore and Connie McKenzie (A). Pros: Debbie Kennett (A), Emily Aulicino (A) Rick Saunders- comment: I need to be able to turn off the posting of coupons being considered as something to be notified about under notifications at the top of the GAP. With 6 projects, I don’t have time to check activity feeds when the only thing being notified about is a new coupon. Need to have an option be able to just consider it a “notification” when a member posts.
    Allow an option for admins and co-admins to be notified in their regular email address of any postings or to choose not to be notified. Many do not have the time to keep checking the forum in case someone needs help. It can be easier to delete from the home email box, if needed. However, options should be given as admins work differently. Proposed by Emily Aulicino (A)
    Put a LOGOUT link on EVERY FTDNA Page. Backing out is a pain! Proposed by Emily Aulicino (A)

    Medium Priority (B)
    URLs (Links) to DNA Results page: old URLs (/default.aspx?section=yresults) should still work and/or redirect to the new URLs (?iframe=yresults)
    Proposed by Chris Rottensteiner (B), Pros: Debbie Kennett (B), Martha Hicks (B), Martha Bowes (B)
    Post file attachments that are NOT photos. I have references such as relationship charts that would be very handy to have available.
    Proposed by AngeliaR@forums.familytreedna (?), Pros: Chris Rottensteiner (C), Debbie Kennett (C), Martha Bowes (C), Martha Hicks (C); Cons: Leake Little (A) – copyright laws and the legal right to post content may be a challenge on FTDNA’s site, even for our groups – PAs don’t need a legal liability in this area See Discussion at the End.
    Aid for the colorblind: Please add the ability to change font colors wherever the ability to change background colors is present.
    Proposed by John Beardsley (A), Pros: Martha Bowes (A), Martha Hicks (B), Leake Little (affects 6% to 10% of users on average – more males than females – but important in the larger category of ‘Accessibility’ concerns)
    Subgroup Linking and accessing: especially for projects with more than 200 members it would be helpful if projects groups could be organized in levels (1, 1.1, 1.1.1) and Results pages show a selection of such (sub)groups maybe with a remaining URL (?iframe=yresults&group=1-1-1) for such a selection so that it can be shared to interested group members and interesting kits.
    Proposed by Chris Rottensteiner (B) Pros: Martha Bowes (C)
    Nav Order: It would be helpful if admins could have the ability to customize the order in which the left-hand menu is arranged (ie, the menu which currently includes links to Activity feed, DNA results, Photos, Surnames, etc).
    Proposed by Debbie Kennett (?), Pros: Chris Rottensteiner (C), Martha Hicks (B); Cons: Leake Little (B), Martha Bowes
    There is no Consensus about this Topic. See Discussion at the End.
    Clicking “DNA Results” needs to have a link to the y-DNA results wherever they are hosted (WorldFamilies or other site) when they are not listed at FTDNA. At present if they are not listed at FTDNA, the message is: “Are you a member of the [project name] project? Log in now to view the DNA results,” which could cause non-members to think the results are private, and/or not know where to find the public y-DNA results.
    Proposed by Rick Saunders (A)
    Allow email notifications to all participants who opt in that there is new activity in the feed. Proposed by Martha Bowes. (B), Pros: Jim Barrett (B).
    Enable “Remember Me” at log in to facilitate visiting the activity feed in addition to other features. Proposed by Martha Bowes (B), Pros: John Beardsley, Leake Little
    Allow admins to be signed in on their own account and GAP simultaneously: It is a nuisance having to sign in and out of one account or the other in order to accomplish different tasks, or to be active in other projects that they are members but not admins of. Proposed by: John Beardsley (B); Pros: Martha Hicks (B)
    Allow admins to delete notifications of new project members and to switch off these notifications. I have no need to continue to see the same “you have new matches” after the matches have been viewed. Proposed by Connie McKenzie and Jim Barrett (B)
    Surname spellings. The numbers associated with surname spellings don’t match actual count of names on kits. Janine doesn’t know where the data is drawn from but has passed on the issue. Posted by anonymous admin (B).
    Enable Word editing options for project profile page. My Groups draws from both and so what one sees in the horizontal row of button is inconsistent. Posted by anonymous admin (B). Pros: Debbie Kennett (B)
    Send out the automatic coupon code notifications in FTDNA’s name not in the name of a project admin. Proposed by Charles Moore and Connie McKenzie (A).
    Direct link to the “Activity Feed” on the GAP home page. There is to start posting coupons, but we then have to click on the “Activity Feed” link to get to the messages. Proposed by Jim Barrett (B).

    Low Priority (C)
    Link to LC in GAP: There needs to a prominent link from the Gap pages to the guide in the Learning Center:
    Proposed by Debbie Kennett (C) Pros: Martha Bowes (C) Martha Hicks (C), John Beardsley (B)
    CSS styling for content: It would be nice that admins could still format the content of the About Us pages with CSS (div sections) instead of using tables etc.
    Proposed by Chris Rottensteiner (C), Pros: Martha Hicks (C)
    GAP mail archive: As many project administrators do not seem to be receiving the group admin e-mails from FTDNA would it be possible to include an e-mail archive in the GAP?
    Proposed by Debbie Kennett (C) , Pros: John Beardsley (C), Leake Little
    HTML layout for mobiles: if possible at this point the layout could arrange for smaller screens on tablets and mobiles phones .
    Proposed by Chris Rottensteiner (C)
    Hiding Banner and Family Crest: It would be interesting to hide those two elements as they need much horizontal space on smaller screens.
    Proposed by Chris Rottensteiner (C); Cons: Martha Bowes , John Beardsley See Discussion at the End.
    Allow albums within albums for photos. This for example enables top tier to be country, then, say, county, then families, or skip the county level, or whatever.
    Proposed by Martha Bowes (C) Pros: John Beardsley (C)
    Allow searching the timeline for keywords in earlier conversations.
    Proposed by Martha Bowes (C) Pros: John Beardsley (C)
    See Discussion at the End.
    37. Add ability to have photos rather than silhouettes in the posts.
    Proposed by John Beardsley 3/1/15

    Link Order: Could we have the ability to re-order the links in the Links section without having to delete all the links and add them again in the desired order? Proposed by Debbie Kennett (C) {This ability is already there. Select edit, then click and hold on the left-most portion of the link (three horizontal bars), and drag into position order you prefer and drop. Very easy.}
    Activity Feed Off: Please allow administrators to turn off the activity feed.
    Proposed by Elizabeth O’Donoghue/Ross (A), Pros: Debbie Kennett (A) (for haplogroup projects) Wayne Kauffman (A) and Chris Rottensteiner (A), and Martha Hicks (A); Neutral: Rick Saunders; Cons: John Beardsley, Leake Little
    There is Controversy about this Topic. An Option would fit wishes of many Admins probably. See Discussion at the End.

    Privacy Member Names: The names of project members are currently being displayed in the newsfeed menu when a new member joins the project. The full names are clearly visible when hovering over the head and shoulders icon. There seems to be no way to change the settings so that the names can be hidden. Not all project members appreciate having their names known to other project members and their names should not be revealed without their explicit permission. The ability to reveal your name to other project members should be an opt-in feature. Proposed by Debbie Kennett (A), Pros: Chris Rottensteiner (A), Martha Hicks (A), Martha Bowes; Pro Aliases: Doris Wheeler; Cons: John Beardsley, Leake Little
    [Martha Hicks: Due to the risk that people will avoid joining projects. I’ve heard the complaints about privacy in the FTDNA forum, and, over time, this has the potential to severely impact membership numbers.] Disagree: John Beardsley {I don’t understand why anonymous comments are important} Most people use aliases in online communication. They should have that option. Doris Wheeler Martha Bowes Agree this should be a priority. Some people join projects expecting privacy. In fact the Release most usually sign, if I recall correctly, states that one’s results will be matched against the database and they will thereby exchange emails *with matches*, not project members. Disagree [Leake Little]: this is an unnecessary concern perpetuated by “Admins” who would rather take advantage of “free” information for their own purposes than to promote community of the project members themselves. The fear that members may leave or object is premature. I have already had this happen. Martha Bowes. ChrisR: Europeans are more sensible to this – I had kits leaving when they realized some (anonymous) DNA results are shown publicly or on project pages their results where discussed/announced :-(. {I’m still failing to see why anonymous comments are necessary. The arguments for allowing people to post with anonymity are much the same for not allowing it. Anonymity gives the disruptive element the ability to be asses without the community knowing who they are. Privacy minded project members can either not post or send private messages to the admins to have their opinions heard. John Beardsley} Revealing names to other project members is in contravention of the existing FTDNA privacy policy. This should be an opt in feature and not automatically enforced. I’ve had some of my project members leave other projects when the admin has revealed their name and/or e-mail address to other project members without their permission (and these were Americans not Europeans). I do not want people leaving my projects because their privacy has been compromised. It is not about people making anonymous contributions. The names are automatically revealed in the newsfeed whenever someone joins a project. In general I’ve found that when there are concerns about names being revealed the family situation turns out be somewhat “sensitive” for various reasons. Debbie Kennett [again these fears are informal and not documented by
    data, which I would suggest are more germane to the discussion of the purpose of the site – community or privacy, FTDNA’s prerogative and not any individual Admin or group of Admins – Leake Little] My comments are based on real-life data from two cases with which I have been personally involved. Also, for the benefit of FTDNA’s many customers living in Europe it is vitally important that FTDNA follows European data protection legislation. If the privacy of individual customers is not protected they will not test. It is the rights of the individual that are important not the wishes of admins. If people wish to protect their privacy their wishes should be respected. Debbie Kennett {I might support a variation of this proposal, that being allowing members to use an alias so long as the admins have the ability to identify the poster’s identity. I realize this seems like a contradiction of my other comments about not giving admins more power and control of the projects, but in this limited topic I think the pros may outweigh the cons. John Beardsley} The “contradiction” really isn’t one. One of the reasons we have so many perspectives is that the circumstances of our projects are often quite diverse if not unique. It really doesn’t work well to make assumptions that either admins or particants are more capable of causing problems. I’ve been in this long enough to see major egos on all sides. Overall we’re lucky to have things go as well as they do, while wanting to have effective means to handle any possible scenario on the part of unruly admins or participants. Martha Bowes If a tester is in a project, they have agreed to make their DNA public. All of their matches can see their name and email unless they are listed as private. For this reason, it seems quite odd that someone would object for the whole of the project members to see their name. However, if we are seeing cases of this, maybe either an alias (I hate those) or just a first name and last initial could be used. I know as an admin who gives presentations, most of us block out the names or enough of them not to let the public know who the person is. Of course, that is a more public than the myGroups forum. Emily Aulicino

    Admin E-mail link: As a priority could we please have the ability restored for people to click on an administrator’s name on the public website and send an e-mail. The e-mail facility is currently only enabled for people who are already in the project.
    Proposed by Debbie Kennett (A), Pros: Chris Rottensteiner (A), Martha Hicks (A), Rick Saunders (A), Martha Bowes (A) John Beardsley (a). [Martha Hicks: Any member, potential member, or interested person should have an easy way to contact administrators privately. (Discussions with members about their specific mtDNA mutations must continue to be confidential.) Additionally, not everyone is comfortable with social media featuring open communication, especially not on the very same topics for which FTDNA and most people understand there is a need for security/privacy settings.] [Carol Vass: Just to add strongly support this suggestion. New people who have not done a DNA test and just want to contact PAs for good advise have NO way to contact PAs in the new mygroups configuration. This is NOT a good thing!!] Leake Little – this is a conflict of interest inasmuch as PAs objectives are not fully accounted for nor are we agents of FTDNA to have open access to their customers; I support a federated system within the site as it now is – there are other 3rd forums for PAs to interact with confused testing subjects. The prospective “customer” needs to be able to contact us to ask about what type of test they should take. We have had many people join our project and purchase a test ONLY after they had discussed it with us and learned how testing works. Many will be turned off if they have to go searching for another way to get their answers. I believe it is critical to have the admin’s email address available to them. Jane Lindsey. Admins need to be accessible as does their e-mails. ANYONE interested in the project should be allowed to easily contact the admin. Emily Aulicino || Carol Vass: Just tonight I wanted to contact one of my brother’s 62/67 matches — different surname, but I want to offer to pay for several SNPs that came out of my brother’s Big Y test. The email for that man bounced. I went to his surname project to ask that an email from me could be forwarded to that participant. The group has transitioned to mygroups format. Since I am NOT a member of that surname project, the email for the administrator(s) is NOT available to me!!! In addition to having administrator emails visible for ‘new’ people contemplating ordering a test, this is another reason that this critical feature really needs to be restored. Thanks!!!

    Activity Feed Off: Please allow administrators to turn off the activity feed.
    Proposed by Elizabeth O’Donoghue/Ross (A), Pros: Debbie Kennett (A), (for haplogroup projects) Wayne Kauffman and Chris Rottensteiner (A), Martha Hicks (A); Neutral: Rick Saunders; Cons: John Beardsley, Leake Little
    Disagree: John Beardsley {I would agree with allowing each project member to turn it off if they desire, but not blanket authority to admins.} Disagree [Leake Little]: the activity feed should be a standard part of every project main page for community purposes and for consistency in UI/user experience across projects [Martha Hicks: In response to disagreements to the suggestion: Who will referee when members are endlessly argumentative or use abusive language, etc.?] [Good question!] Possibly a problem in some projects, but I have been doing the same thing as the new activity feed with surname projects on Facebook for several years and have 395 members. Never had one argument, abusive language, etc. – Rick Saunders {It is difficult for me to imagine that many disruptive project members so that it requires giving admins this power. It is easier for me to imagine some members having an honest disagreement with the admins, and the admins seeking to silence those members. Admins right now have the ability to remove abusive posts and kick members out of their projects, why do they need more power than that? John Beardsley} I don’t personally feel the need to have the activity feed switched off so long as the privacy issues are resolved, but I can see that there are potentially some small projects where for various reasons the admin might prefer not to have an activity feed. Debbie Kennett

    Allow admins to moderate specific individuals so their posts can be moderated before appearing on the timeline. Proposed by Martha Bowes (A), Pros: Chris Rottensteiner (B), Martha Hicks (A); Neutral: Debbie Kennett; Cons: Leake Little, John Beardsley
    Disagree [Leake Little]: censorship is not a community-building tool – communities are self-organizing and not top-down controlled; outliers often offer the best learning experiences for the group or project as a whole I’m not referring to everyday differences. It would be something to be used sparingly and for good reason. MB[Understood – but FTDNA must have some mechanism in mind that may not include Admins, we are not FTDNA employees and the liability is theirs to manage] True Leake Little, but as it stands admins can remove anyone from their project altogether if need be, so it’s not extending too much leeway to enable moderation of a participant prior to posts. For example if someone’s posts are repeatedly needing to be removed, there should be a way to not let their posts get to the Activity Feed anymore without pre-approval. I really would not expect to need to use this much if ever at all, and the 200+ people in my facebook page are trouble free. It’s a recourse. MB [Martha Hicks: Which project administrators can add 24/7 forum-moderating duties to their other project tasks and their lives?? After all, it only takes ONE person (or a rivalsome pair) to bring down the experience for all. I hope it will be rare, but it’s naive to think that projects containing hundreds or thousands of members will not have this come up sooner or later. // Would we write to the Help Desk when a member is problematic for the group? The Help Desk could be overwhelmed with requests from the myriad projects, and each would need individual investigation. It sounds like fancy IT work to enable admins to cut off a specific member’s ability to post on the activity feed. Should conflict resolution, taking sides on delicate issues, counseling offended members, and doling out consequences weigh on the shoulders of admins? Alternatively, needing to remove a member with important test results from the group (or having an offended member leave) over something that happened in the forum would be most unfortunate for the whole project.] Yahoo! provides this tool to their moderators. MB Disagree: {I think the plan is/was to lessen the power of admins to completely control projects, and I agree with that plan. IMHO projects belong to the members, not the admins even if they started the project. I do not believe members as a rule are uncivil, and there are already methods to control the ones that are. John Beardsley } A moderation tool could potentially be misused by a controlling admin. It would be useful to have a tool to remove someone from the activity feed without removing them from the project though I imagine anyone who is censored in this way would probably leave the project anyway. Debbie Kennett As long as the Activity Feed isn’t misused by a member instead, and as long as if that happens FTDNA is prepared to take prompt action to moderate the offender. [Leake Little – we can probably all agree that it would be our PA desire that FTDNA police the feeds for SPAM or other solicitous behaviors – I suspect that the most egregious controversy may involve origination theories, esp. ethnicity. Could we propose a future “polling” function/feature such that members/PAs can create polls and vote on different ideas or project alternatives?] {I just see the potential of abuse by admins being a much larger risk than potential abuse by members. As previously stated, there already are methods in place to handle any abuse by members, so there really shouldn’t be any need to give admins more power. John Beardsley} [Martha Hicks: Yes, it would be important for SPAM and other types of messages to be automatically blocked. // JB, can you summarize/clarify what those methods are that are currently in place to handle abuse by members?] {[From JB to MH] Martha Hicks, this is from the Learning Center: “A brief note about moderation of the activity feed: we have a system in place that will notify you when a post is reported as inappropriate. You may delete posts and pictures. You may remove members from the group if they become abusive. Once a post is reported by a group member, that post is removed from the reporting party’s feed. If a post is reported often enough by your group members, it is automatically removed from all Activity Feeds. You are not required to moderate your feed.” With this system in place it just seems unnecessary to give admins more power, and I believe that would lead to more abuse than solutions. John Beardsley} [Martha Hicks to JB: Thank you! This is great to know!] As this topic’s original poster I’d just like to clarify my intent. It wasn’t at all a desire to “censor” ideas but rather to have a way to monitor a participant who might post, for example, discriminatory or otherwise harmful comments that are not focused on the content being discussed but rather targeted at an individual. While the Code of Conduct can prohibit such posts, it doesn’t prevent them. I agree this is not likely to happen much if at all. I’m actually quite an optimist and very much in favor of myGroups for projects (while understanding the complications it presents). Differences of opinion can be quite thought provoking. So no, it’s not about seeking a way to abuse the PA position or enhance some sense of PA ownership over projects. It would indeed be sad if such a function were used that way. I defer to FTDNA. Martha Bowes. You need to have a fair and balanced standard and convey it. If you set up a Code of Ethics and someone violates it, you have recourse. You could contact FTDNA, ask the person to comply, hopefully delete their post or after so many infractions, omit them from the Activity Feed. These options could be allowed, but with a Code of Ethics there should be little need. If a major problem, email FTDNA to handle it. Emily Aulicino

    Nav Order: It would be helpful if admins could have the ability to customize the order in which the left-hand menu is arranged (ie, the menu which currently includes links to Activity feed, DNA results, Photos, Surnames, etc).
    Proposed by Debbie Kennett (?), Pros: Chris Rottensteiner (C), Martha Hicks (B); Cons: Leake Little, Martha Bowes John Beardsley
    Disagree [Leake Little]: standard UI and functionality should exist across projects for user ease of use and technical performance of the site I agree with Leake Little that consistency in menu item order is better, but we might agree on a preferred order? I’d put the traditional pages toward the top and the interactive items at the bottom (About > Surnames > Results > Activity Feed > Photos > Links). Martha Bowes [Martha Hicks: Yes, traditional pages first would be ideal. Projects now typically use the Background page as an introduction and to convey the most basic/important information on the subject of the project. New members, especially, need this initial overview and exposure — with info and instructions deemed (by admins) to be important for all members to know in order to facilitate a cooperative and successful project. The ever-changing activity feed will not provide this.] [Carol Vass: Want to strongly support the order of the “Menu” — using the tradtional order ((About > Surnames > Results > Activity Feed > Photos > Links) is the only thing that makes sense in terms of ‘new’ people seeking to understand what a project is all about. The “About” section should be the default page when first viewing a project.] As a user/participant of a number of projects, I wouldn’t want to have to reorient myself at each project’s page to the menu order preferences of the admin – this is a very basic website ease-of-use principal. Navigation is best when consistent across myGroups project. Martha Bowes

    Frontpage selection: Admins should be able to decide what will be shown on the Frontpage: Activity Feed, Background, etc.
    Proposed by Chris Rottensteiner (B), Pros: Debbie Kennett (B), and Martha Hicks (B); Cons: Martha Bowes, John Bearsley
    Same comments as under “Nav Order” in that consistency across projects is best, but if the landing page is About, at the top of the left menu, then all the subpages within About show on landing, just as with current layout. Best for all visitors whether current participants or not. However, participants, when going to Activity Feed through Notifications on their home page, should get directly there as they do now. Martha Bowes {I’m reluctantly opposed to this. While I’d like to have the ability as an admin to make the frontpage inviting to prospective members I feel that allowing this would enable bad actor admins to censor the membership. IMHO I believe misbehavior of admins is more destructive within a project than the same by members. Admins should be elevated members, not rulers. John Beardsley}

    Hiding Banner and Family Crest: It would be interesting to hide those two elements as they need much horizontal space on smaller screens.
    Proposed by Chris Rottensteiner (C); Cons: Martha Bowes
    See comments under [former] 7 and 9 – I think display consistency across DNA project pages is more important given that these are under FTDNA’s umbrella. Guess I’m trying on their hat for some reason, but it’s standard website user friendliness from FTDNA’s standpoint. Martha Bowes

    Allow searching the timeline for keywords in earlier conversations.
    Proposed by Martha Bowes (C) [Martha Hicks: While this would be wonderful for certain projects (surname projects, for example), it could be problematic for mtDNA haplogroup projects, in particular. This is because there are many misunderstandings and much confusion about subclades, the significance of matches, etc. that many members will inadvertently post misleading comments and misinformation. Therefore, finding old messages is not a ticket to finding accurate or helpful information and may resurrect erroneous ideas instead. Therefore, I suggest that this be an optional feature and not automatically enabled for all projects. ] [Leake Little – interesting idea but the limit may be how much FTDNA archives of these feeds, or how robust the search function might be… In any case I would propose that none of the projects’ content be open to 3rd search engines such as Google, etc. to keep the project community “safe” in any public sense. For instance, Twitter feeds can be searched from beginning to end and I would suspect that what Martha suggests is that we fully expect the research, the test results, and our members’ conversations about these events to evolve with time, not be subject to historical contradiction or equivocation] {Optional for whom? The only way that would work would be giving the ability to the admins, and I would not support that. It would turn into a method of censorship . . . admin doesn’t like the topic or opinions, they shut the conversation down and hide it John Beardsley.} [Martha Hicks: JB, censorship by PAs is hard to imagine, but members would be free to report that to FTDNA. For me, the only thing (besides abusive/offensive posts) I would ever like to suppress are factual errors (although, I am content to post a correction) and breaches of confidentiality (for which I cannot simply post a ‘correction’). For example, on occasion, members may mention their matches by name, and that will not go over well.] {[From JB To MH] Martha Hicks, there has been admins who have abused their power to censor debate within projects that I am aware of. It does not help to discuss details here, the FTDNA staff is aware of them. I think the risk of one or two admins abusing their power is far more damaging that an equal number of members being nuisances. John Beardsley} , [Martha Hicks to JB: Ok, thanks, understood.] As the original poster of this topic, and similar to another suggestion I posted, where a simple idea morphed into fears of out-of-control admins, my original intent was to be able to easily retrieve valuable family history information that’s shared when it would become helpful again. I hadn’t anticipated all the suspicions about over-reaching admins. I hope there aren’t many of them, but as far as I’m concerned this can be deleted and forgotten. If someone needs the info I’ll just ask on the timeline again and hope the OP there is still responding. If not, that’s their prerogative. True too, the facts could have changed since an earlier posting. Martha Bowes

    Post file attachments
    Proposed by AngeliaR@forums.familytreedna
    Files I (or any of the participants) create are not subject to copyright restrictions. Being able to post a document detailing information to be shared would be an advantage here just as it is in yahoo, facebook or any other group or mailing list with a focused purpose. Because there are competing theories of ancestry, it is important for members to be able to share findings in a more permanent manner than discussion feed. Project participants are not always aware of copyright and contract law/terms of use. For this reason, my Code of Ethics refers them to Judy Russell’s blogs on the topic. We need permission to use pages from books, various items found online, and even photos. If you are not the photographer this can be an issue. I want all records on the surname posted, but we don’t need legal headaches, and we can’t trust the participants to even be aware of copyright and contract law/terms of use issues. I do want to post charts that I create, but I don’t want project members to copy them and spread them far and wide, also. Regardless, in most of these cases, it is the desire to have options as we all work differently. Emily Aulicino [Leake Little] I agree with Emily on this one.

    Allow admins to bulk delete posts about expired coupon codes or have them autodeleted after a designated period

    I have been dealing with Jannine on the issue of coupons
    they now upload automatically
    now can hide but no longer can delete – needs to be changed
    nothing in coupon message says the coupon only good for 24 hours or until used. but can see time when coupon posted

    nothing there to advise someone wanting to use the coupon – sorry already used.

    The coupons should disappear when used and after 24 hrs. Do not leave it up to the admin to monitor this. It should be automatic for many reasons: 1. Not necessary to have: 2. If used it doesn’t lead to frustration by a customer trying to use it: 3. They take up space and aren’t useful after 24 hrs. Emily Aulicino
    I surely agree that the coupons should disappear after 24 hours..They automatically load because we did not want to post daily but we have to remove daily?What is difference? Kathleen Ingram
    No way to change the URL the the WF button points to – need to know how – should be admin controlled.
    Janine, is FTDNA separating itself from the partnership they’ve had with WorldFamilies for 11 years? I do not understand the concern about putting the WorldFamilies button into the admins control otherwise. If FTDNA is continuing its relationship with WFN then at the minimum there should be a process where the admins submit the url of their project’s homepage to have it linked to the button. While not knowing the number of projects WFN hosts I can still imagine the time involved for somebody at FTDNA responding to those submissions. A better method would be to allow the admins limited ability to link a WFN url to the button.
    Either way, something must be done about that button, currently it does not work at all. John Beardsley {edit: It does not work in the Beardsley/Beardslee project, but I’ve seen that it is working in others}{2nd edit: The button now works in my project, but points to the recLOH discussion page on WFN, rather than my project’s home page. This is why admins should have limited editing ability of the button.}Same here on the Short project. The WF logo links to the discussion page rather than the project main page. my message to FTDNA regarding inconsistency and lack of Word editing function
    Interesting to see that part of what appears in MY GROUPS
    come from the Project Profile in the GAP PROJECT ADMIN drop down while other categories comes from
    Site Configuration Background Goals News Results Code of Conduct
    AND that in the former the font size and features are standard only no flexibility while in the latter group there are some WORD basic editing capability.
    This means that in moving from overview (project profile) to background (public website) they might look very different. I certainly would like at least basic WORD editing capabilities available consistently throughout.
    This would clearly seem to be an area that should have been attended too – particularly considering that Alpha and Beta testing have been ongoing for some time.
    FTDNA response from Trusty Taylor
    Thank you for your email about the placement of the text editing fields within the ‘About’ section. I apologize the inconvenience of having the Background field separated from the others. I wanted to minimize the changes made in GAP so that the landscape administrators worked within would be mostly untouched while we introduced major changes to the public facing site.

    In the future, we will overhaul GAP to give it a friendlier layout that makes it easier for admins to do all the things they need to do. When that time comes, we will make sure issues like this are rectified.

    received notices in activity feed of 2 or 4 persons joining the group – tells me nothing of value – need to know more

  6. I have a hint that I stole from one of my Ancestry DNA matches that I thought your readers might appreciate and use. When you click on her “send a message” button, it shows her name, email address and Gedcom # . WHAT a wonderful surprise- I immediately did a one to one- and shared 30 ctM with her. I really hope you can spread the word on this. Your faithful reader and 6th cousin somewhat removed, Bonnie Crabtree Berg

  7. Just to clarify: I’m supportive that ALL DNA data is shared with the public in projects as a presetting and this is different from settings to hide personal information (name, address, etc.) which IMO are useful but should be also an option (not a presetting). So if there is enough consensus (also from us Europeans) and Lisa Janine Cloud is following this please revise the presettings and at least give an option that GAP-admins can set that only kits with certain privacy settings can join a project. Handling new kits and explaining in several messages why and how to change privacy settings has become a huge time consuming task.
    See Y-Admins Fb
    ISOGG Fb

    [copy of Fb post]

  8. I’ve known about this change for a few weeks as I had noticed too that recent results were not showing publicly. My questions for FTDNA are first why hasn’t this been shared with project administrators through a email notifying us of the change? I also want to know why the change now after 16 years or so of FTDNA being in business that the default setting is changed? If FTNDA wants to only show the results to members of the group then they might as well do away with projects all together and get rid of the project administrators, get rid of the yearly conference etc. The value of projects is to share the results to researchers, to see if somebody from your line has tested. The members of a project already know who they match through their match list.

    FTDNA already guards privacy by listing people by their kit number. If somebody doesn’t want their results to show they can change their setting to private or quit the project, but to hide all results from here on out doesn’t make any sense. If this privacy setting is so important how come they value only new customers and make it opt in for them but their hundreds of thousands of past customers it is opt out? I’d like to think that FTDNA didn’t think this through and caved into one person’s suggestion and that it will be ultimately restored to how it should be.

  9. Maybe I’m misreading the post by W. Leake Little but from that feed it appears the concern by some were that people’s names were being revealed when they joined the project not that the results were being shown publicly. Why the change in the results default setting then and what does that have to do with the concern over people’s names? Did FTDNA not understand the concerns presented? That seems to be the case.

    • Maybe the “rogue admins” harvesting the data for use outside of FTDNA is the main issue? Personally, I am happy to have my STRs on any database in hopes of finding more matches. The data belongs to me and not FTDNA.

    • It appears there was editing of the document but the essential concern was that instead of the default choice being to share when someone joined a public project it was suggested that sharing be “opt-in” rather than “opt-out”. And of course the privacy options are not part of the site’s workflow when you join a project, order a test, etc. They are a part of your profile, not your participation choices.

  10. Roberta,
    Thank you for your heads-up on the privacy setting. All my kits I sponsored have been around awhile, but glad to know this for future kits I buy.

    I am having a problem of another sort with matching by FTDNA on a cousin’s Y-DNA matches. He has lots of matches on 25 markers, only 2 matches on 37 markers, and a lot of matches again on 67 markers. I belong to a research group for this project so I know who most of the other matches are & correspond with them. What concerns me is, where are the matches at 37 markers, and why have they disappeared??? Yes, my guy has 67 markers, but not all the kits have upgraded to 67, and I want to see the 37 marker matches!

    I wrote to FTDNA about this problem, they fiddled with it for a week or so, and finally it was temporarily fixed so I had lots of matches at 37 markers again. Now it has reverted back to 2 matches again! What on earth do you suppose is going on here? Have you heard of this happening?

    Oh, yes, I have to tell you that on Ancestry DNA, I am now the proud owner of 2 NAD’s! Never heard of these people before and have no idea who they are, but I’m positive they are not my ancestors! Hopefully they will someday disappear again. 🙂

  11. WOW! It’s a good thing you are there to guide us through all of this Roberta. Thank you for the information in this post. – Jim

  12. Very disappointing — nay, maddening — that FTDNA didn’t notify us administrators. But it seems to be almost par for the course these days.

  13. Pingback: Autosomal DNA Testing 101 – Tips and Tricks for Contact Success | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  14. Pingback: How to Join a DNA Project | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

  15. Way too much information and way over this old gray brain. I want to be seen by everyone but have no earthly idea what to do or where to start.

    • Please call Family Tree DNA and ask for their assistance. They have a wonderful customer service department. Click on “Contact” at the bottom of their webpage.

  16. probably off topic but the DNA upload feature is broken and FTDNA doesn’t seem to want to address the issue or respond to folks that point it out to them

    • If it is universally broken, I’m sure they are trying to fix it. If they got bombarded with hundreds or thousands of reports, they may be waiting until it’s fixed to reply, or devoting their resources to fixing the problem. I just downloaded mine with no problem at all. Try again.

      • Did you download as you stated or upload? I have tried FamlyTreeMaker GEDCOM, an Ancestry Tree download GEDCOM and a Gramps GEDCOM. None work. And yes, I just tried.
        Looking at the threads on line it looks to have been broken for a few years.. I won’t say anymore

        • I did a download – and I thought you meant an autosomal file. I’ve uploaded gedcoms in the past. I’ll give that a try this afternoon. Are you trying to upload to Family Tree DNA or YSearch?

          • Family Tree DNA. I am managing two accounts. One is for my; 12th cousin who is the direct line female descendant of a brick wall… Sarah Weston m. John Milk, Salem 1665. I want to share the tree and test results.

          • Be sure to go through your personal information, particularly the “Match and e-mail settings” and the “Privacy and Sharing” information and select the sharing options. When you first open her tree, you will be prompted for how much you want to share of her tree and with whom.

  17. Pingback: New Native American Mitochondrial DNA Haplogroups | DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy

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