Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Human Genetic History/Archive 1

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Archive 1 Archive 2

Archived material from March 2008 to March 2009

Founding discussion

Archived at Wikipedia:WikiProject Human Genetic History/Proposal. Please do not edit that page but feel free to continue discussion here of any of the points that came up. Jheald (talk) 16:15, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Project banner

I've created a first cut at a project banner template:

Thoughts and discussion about tweaks/changes probably best carried on here, until we're all reasonably happy. Jheald (talk) 20:17, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Articles tagged

I've tagged most of the articles in Category:Genetic genealogy and sub-cats with the project template (excluding Category:Genealogy software and Category:Human MHC haplogroups.

See Category:WikiProject Human Genetic History pages. Note that clicking on Related changes there can be used to get a list of all recent edits to any of the associated talk pages. -- Jheald (talk) 23:30, 13 March 2008 (UTC)

Hi all. Great work in starting things off! I just wanted to ask for feedback about the scope of tagging. For example, in articles that have a section discussing DNA ancestry (one of which I edit frequently is Palestinian people), do people think it is appropriate to add a tag for the project? In other words, should any article that mentions genetic history be added to the project, or only those devoted to the subject itself. Thanks. Tiamuttalk 19:33, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Side issue re that Palestinian people article. If I remember rightly, most of the studies currently cited only looked at 6 markers. But that's not enough to reliably separate the different subgroups identified eg by the Haplogroup J project. Some very different lineages can appear very similar, at only 6 markers; while some much more closely related lineages can appear much more distant.
Are the conclusions from studies like Nebel's still safe, when we consider more detailed haplogroups defined with more STR markers? Or should they be carry a heavy health warning? Jheald (talk) 20:31, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes, go ahead and tag them; that's what importance assessments are for. ;-) – Swid (talk · edits) 20:05, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Even if we end up claiming the entire territory of Wikipedia:WikiProject Ethnic Groups? I can see both sides here. It would be nice to be able to generate two separate listings really -- articles where we would see this as the primary, most associated project; and articles where we do have an association, but a lesser one. "Importance" (FWIW, I prefer "Priority") doesn't quite do that: some "low priority" articles, will definitely primarily associate here. Other articles, eg some for which Molecular Biology is probably the primary association (eg "Allele") nevertheless are still far from low priority for us.
I just fear that tagging all sorts of articles for us, will make it harder to spot eg high-traffic articles for which we would see ourselves as being in the first line of responsibility. Jheald (talk) 20:31, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Ah. I see your proposal in more detail below, in the "WP 1.0 Assessments" thread. Still not 100% convinced though. Jheald (talk) 20:40, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
In your case, it sounds like the bot-assisted sorting of tagged articles would be very helpful; just ignore anything that winds up in the "Low-Priority" or "Unassessed" categories. :-P On a serious note, while the overall potential overlap with WP:ETHNIC is quite large, for the short- to intermediate-term future, most ethnic groups won't have any published genetic data available. Also, tagging ethnic group articles where there is data available helps remind people in other projects that we're another available resource. – Swid (talk · edits) 20:58, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
I'm just bothered it might really clutter up the recent changes and recent changes to talk pages lists. Jheald (talk) 23:00, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia 1.0 assessments

Now that we're live, I want to get things started. Shall we start doing some article assessments and set up organization by the Wikipedia:Version 1.0 Editorial Team/Using the bot? Once we do that, we can start using the Igor tool that I've been developing to manage things pretty easily. – ClockworkSoul 16:08, 15 March 2008 (UTC)

Sounds a good idea. The talk page template would need to be updated - I only created a very basic one; code would need to be copied from more advanced ones, to add a field to display the assessments.
I'm never quite sure with the "importance" field - is that supposed to be "importance" (priority) for Wikipedia Version 1.0; or importance/priority to this WikiProject ? Jheald (talk) 15:25, 16 March 2008 (UTC)
From what I've gathered, "importance" started as an assessment for the former, but is now most commonly seen as an assessment for the latter. Since the guidelines mention having a consensus on an importance scale before going out and tagging things, here's a quick-and-dirty attempt at an assessment scale for this project:
  • Top - Human genetic history is the main topic of the article and provides wide-ranging information (examples: recent single origin hypothesis, main mtDNA and Y-DNA pages)
  • High - Human genetic history is the main topic of the article (examples: individual haplogroup pages)
  • Mid - Human genetic history is not the main topic of the article, but is important to its understanding (examples: general articles on SNPs, STRs, RecLOH)
  • Low - Human genetic history is not the main topic of the article, and does not play a major role in its understanding (examples: ethnic group pages)
– Swid (talk · edits) 20:21, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Are all haplogroups really high importance? Even the really rare ones? Are they really of higher priority than some others of the more trafficked articles? I'm not convinced -- at least not 100%. Jheald (talk) 20:37, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Ideally, yes. If nothing else, I'm very uneasy having this project state from the outset that "all haplogroups are important, but some are more important than others". I know that a wide gap exists among haplogroups in terms of the amount of published information available, but just because a group is rare or hasn't attracted much research interest, that shouldn't mean that it isn't important to us. I see nothing wrong with having articles tagged as high-priority and as stub- or start-class. – Swid (talk · edits) 21:13, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm. I still can't see Lewis surname DNA project or 100% English or even Jefferson DNA data coming in ahead of Genetic drift or Haplotype. And what about articles like Origins of the Kurds, Ukrainian LGM refuge or Sub-Saharan DNA admixture in Europe? Is STR lower priority than List of DYS markers? But maybe the only way to go is to try it and see... Jheald (talk) 21:40, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
It appears I've failed to take my initial description to its logical conclusion. Genetic history being the sole topic of an article has to go hand in hand with usefulness/interest to a general audience; I'm sorry I didn't make that assumption explicit. In addition, by "individual haplogroup pages" in the original priority description, I meant articles named "Haplogroup <letter> ([Y-][mt]DNA)". – Swid (talk · edits) 21:51, 20 March 2008 (UTC)
I like it. It's a good start and we can add different layers of understanding to the ranking system as the need arises. Tiamuttalk 00:45, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

Article hits for February 2008

I've put up a list at Wikipedia:WikiProject Human Genetic History/articles of articles currently tagged for the project, ranked by hits for Feb 2008 from Henrik's site, [1].

It gives us some idea of what readers are interested in - or, perhaps more accurately, what they're most easily led to at the moment; so articles we should make sure are of a reasonable calibre.

The Related changes link from there can be used to bring up a list of all recent edits to the project's articles. As noted above, a similar list of all recent edits for the corresponding talk pages can also be pulled up, here. Jheald (talk) 15:34, 16 March 2008 (UTC)

Automated PMID to WP templated citation converter

Here. A useful resource for automatically generating WP templated citations, and for improving the production quality of existing cites. Jheald (talk) 23:17, 24 March 2008 (UTC)

Genetics of the Ancient World

Might be worth keeping an eye on this apparently new article. The creator has run into some accusations of article POV and POV-forking in the past. Jheald (talk) 12:22, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Updating Y-DNA articles

There's going to be a lot of work to do in once the article below (press release) becomes publicly available:

Karafet, T.M., Mendez, F.L., Meilerman, M.B., Underhill, P.A., Zegura, S.L., and Hammer, M.F. New binary polymorphisms reshape and increase resolution of the human Y-chromosomal haplogroup tree. Genome Research. doi:10.1101/gr.7172008.

– Swid (talk · edits) 23:24, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Need help with protected template

A have noticed that Template:Infobox Ethnic group has no genetics information tab. Probably it would be a good idea to add such tab, so the participants of our project(and others if interesting) can provide the information about frequency of haplos(and other notable genetic info) for each ethnic group. Sasha l (talk) 23:50, 1 April 2008 (UTC)

Some suggestions/comments

I've just noticed this project now from the imbalanced article cline (population genetics). The first thing I notice is that the title should be Human genetic history (we don't capitalize unless needed here). Secondly, the project is not nested in WikiProject Biology where it should be, which makes navigation difficult. Surely it's obvious that this isn't just a science project but specifically a biology project. But more importantly I think a project on genetics in general is much needed. Projects like medical genetics and this one could then be subprojects or task forces.

I've moved the category for this project into WP BIOL, though it would have been nice to hear of this there earlier. I'll mention it now. Richard001 (talk) 10:30, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

There is a proposal at the WikiProject Council for an all-encompassing Genetics WikiProject. It has been suggested that this project and WP:MEDGEN can be incorporated either as descendant WikiProjects or task forces. Feel free to leave comments there. Cheers. Liveste (talkedits) 01:24, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

New Article Collaboration?

Hello, all. I started a new article Genetics of the Ancient World which was intended to be an intro discussion on archaeogenetics followed by an annotated bibliography of relevant articles, but another editor said this format is unacceptable on it has now been changed. Is there anyone else out there who might think it worthwhile to start an annotated bibliography of genetics articles? A list of relevant genetics articles with a short summary is highly useful for those of us who are or plan to be involved in research in genetics. Thanks for your thoughts. regards Hkp-avniel (talk) 11:44, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

I think your article is problematic. To begin with, archaeogenetics is a stub. Why not begin with expanding that instead of creating a new article under the artificial title of "Ancient World"? The ToC and scope of your article seems ... heterogenous, and raises concerns of WP:SYN. The article necessarily turns out to be in summary style, and it is difficult to see how a collection of summaries on various regions will be useful. Also, many of your {{main}} articles tellingly are in turn problematic (classical rambling {{essay-like}} "ethnic" writeups like Origin of the Nilotic peoples). dab (𒁳) 17:06, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Proposal to move Haplogroup E1b1b (Y-DNA) to Haplogroup E-M215 (Y-DNA)

The new tree-form names in Haplogroup E are particularly unfamiliar, unwieldy, hard to remember accurately, and likely to become subject to ongoing change.

I therefore propose that we switch the article title for what was Haplogroup E3b to the YCC's SNP-form nomenclature, ie E-M215; and use the SNP-form name as the primary name for discussing sub-haplogroups of it, ie E-M35 rather than E1b1b1, and E-M78 rather than E1b1b1a. (Although always with an explanatory mention of each subgroup's current tree-form name, and where appropriate past tree-form names, when first introduced).

I'm aware this marks a new departure from our current article-naming convention, but I think (at least in Haplogroup E; and possibly also for other groups where the top-level haplogroup is deeply branched, and our article is about a subgroup quite far down that structure) that this is the right way to go.

Discussion at Talk:Haplogroup_E1b1b_(Y-DNA)#Requested move. Jheald (talk) 11:54, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

I somewhat agree that the new nomenclature is a lot more complicated, I still note that the old names are still being used more than the new names. Maybe things will change in the future. Wapondaponda (talk) 05:33, 6 June 2009 (UTC)

Molecular anthropology Page

I have added a history section to the page, since I have written a history article on another forum. It was on the list of articles in the project but the level of interest was low. The article has a poor lead, which I did not change, and it needs new sections added for specific subprojects such as mtDNA and Y-chromosome.PB666 yap

Controversy about terminology on E1b1b article: opinions please

Could I ask anyone interested in phylogeny who might be able to give some neutral opinions to have a look at the current problems on the E1b1b article? The problem started last week when I starting editing, mainly because of the new article by Henn et. al.(2008) Y-chromosomal evidence of a pastoralist migration through Tanzania to southern Africa. See comment on Dienekes blog and public release. A third person, or even better "third persons" would probably help a lot by just commenting on some of the debating points, for example:

I referred to the newly discovered sub-clade of E1b1b in the cited article as "E-M293" using the standard nomenclature for naming by mutation. The reverting editor says this is incorrect because the cited article itself called it E3b1f-M293, which he has inserted. He claims that I am therefore inserting un-verifiable and un-sourced material into the article, or at best I am making an original synthesis by putting something in which requires looking at more than one source. This even though I've pointed out to him that...

(a) the wikipedia article as it stands already uses the more up-to-date E1b1b1 to "translate" E3b1 (which BTW the cited article does also call E-M35 in one place) and that mixing E3b1... into a list of clades starting E1b1b1... is actually just wrong

(b) the f name at the end, the proposed sub-clade name, was recently already taken up by another SNP, P72, in Karafet.

The reverting editor also claims that the E-M293 style of nomenclature itself is rare and auxiliary, and should either be removed from the article (his preference) or only mentioned in an auxiliary way, as for example old names like E3b are mentioned.

Anyway, if others think I am wrong, then fine, but the current editing situation is unhealthy because it is largely one person editing and another reverting. Perspective is needed one way or another. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:04, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Y haplogroup nomenclature discussion

This is partially combining the discussions here and here and generalizing it for all Y-DNA haplogroups.

Since the adoption of the Y Chromosome Consortium nomenclature in 2002, there have been two accepted methods to refer to a particular Y-DNA haplogroup. Here's the relevant text from the article:

We propose here two complementary nomenclatures. The first is hierarchical and uses selected aspects of set theory to enable clades at all levels to be named unambiguously. The capital letters (A-R) used to identify the major clades constitute the front symbols of all subsequent subclades...Subclades nested within each major haplogroup defined by a capital letter are named using an alternating alphanumeric system...Nested clades within each of these haplogroups are named in a similar way, except that lower-case letters are used instead of numerals. Again, paragroups are labeled with an * symbol, and the remaining haplogroups are labeled with an "a," "b," "c," etc. This naming system continues to alternate between numerals and lower-case letters until the most terminal branches are labeled (tip haplogroups). Therefore, the name of each haplogroup contains the information needed to find its location on the tree.

Alternatively, haplogroups can be named by the "mutations" that define lineages rather than by the "lineages" themselves. Thus, we propose a second nomenclature that retains the major haplogroup information (i.e., 19 capital letters) followed by the name of the terminal mutation that defines a given haplogroup. We distinguish haplogroup names identified "by mutation" from those identified "by lineage" by including a dash between the capital letter and the mutation name. For example, haplogroup H1a would be called H-M36...Note that the mutation-based nomenclature has the important property of being more robust to changes in topology.

Currently, Wikipedia Y-DNA articles use the first method for article titles and the a mix of both in the text. Hopefully we can generate a consensus as to which method we will use from here on out. In closing, I would like to remind everyone that the hierarchical haplogroup nomenclature, like the field itself, has been changing very rapidly; to illustrate this, take a look at Y haplogroup trees from 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007, early 2008, and mid 2008. – Swid (talk · edits) 14:20, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

This subject certainly needs discussion and review every few months. FWIW the E1b1b article is perhaps a good place to see a debate in action about it. There is not only the current awkward discussion, but also an earlier one after Karafet etc was absorbed by the community: same people involved. [2]
Furthermore, during this current stand off, I put quite a case together, only to have it archived a few hours later! [3]
--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:27, 25 August 2008 (UTC)


Is this Wikiproject good endpoint to anchor a talk about Neanderthal article recent fate ? In not please advise me, what to do. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Vdr826 (talkcontribs) 07:33, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

I have added the neanderthal page to HGH Wikiprojects. PB666 yap 22:11, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

template "Y DNA"

The above mentioned template needs updating: IJ and K are now sub-clades of a new clade IJK. I do not have the necessary skills to change this template, sorry!:)--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:31, 30 October 2008 (UTC)

Who are the "Giljak," "Shiba," and "Golde"?

I found the "Giljak" group in here: Who are they? Giljak is empty. Where should this redirect to? Giljak is an alternate spelling of the Ethnic Group Gilyak also known as Nivkh. As for "Shiba" and "Golde" - does Shiba refer to a Japanese clan or is this another ethnic group? What about the Golde? WhisperToMe (talk) 09:10, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Are the "famous members" sections trivia?

Project members should perhaps consider a discussion about the famous members section [4].--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:06, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

This subject has been discussed at length at Talk:Haplogroup E1b1b (Y-DNA). Wider input is needed, and a standard needs to be agreed upon so that the format is consistent for all haplogroup articles. Could we please continue the discussion here. The project guidelines currently recommend that such a section should be included but the format is not specified. One editor has however expressed concerns that such sections are non-encylopaedic and should not be included at all. In the Haplogroup G (Y-DNA) article the haplotype of the famous member has been included. This format has also been followed on List of haplogroups of historical and famous figures. Referencing seems to be a particular problem on the haplogroup E1b1b article and on the list as in many cases no published references exist to support the claims, and external links are provided to Y-search results and surname projects. What do project members think? Dahliarose (talk) 17:11, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Here is a list of my concerns.

  • It may be of some notability that a famous person belongs to a specific Y chromosome haplogroup, that is a matter for that person's biographical article. I don't think it is notable for the haplogroup article that someone belongs to the haplogroup. The biography of any famous person belonging to the haplogroup is not, in my opinion, a notable or interesting thing about the haplogroup. After all, all haplogroups will contain famous people, and many famous people don't know their haplogroup, and those people would be famous whatever their Y haplogroup.
  • The argument has been made that this is about genealogy and especially Y chromosome and family-name projects. I don't see the connection. Genealogy is not the study of famous people, it is the study of families. If the article wants to discuss how a specific haplogroup is used in genealogical research, then I think that would be relevant. The drawback is that I don't think knowing one's membership of a haplogroup is particularly useful when it comes to genealogical research, most haplogroups are far too old, and have far too much geographical spread to be useful in determining family relatedness. For example in this case the haplogroup E1b1b is believed to have arisen approximately 26,000ybp, but family names only started to become popular in Europe in about the fourteenth century. That means that for most of the time the haplogroup has been in existence it has had no relationship to any surname. It also means that the same surname can be shared over different haplogroups, and that the same haplogroup can be spread over many surnames. So knowing one's haplogroup does not necessarily mean one shares a recent family history with someone else who has the same surname and belongs to the same haplogroup. To infer recent familial relatedness we don't use haplogroups, we use Y-STR haplotypes and calculate the genetic distance between the haplotype of the individuals in question.[5]
  • There is a very big concern with verifiability. Most of the claims about famous people belonging to a specific haplogroup appear to be posted onto family-name projects without any verifiable way of assertaining their validity. Often it seems to be speculation. There is absolutely no way we can assume these sources are reliable. Personally I think we should treat them as blogs, and we don't cite blogs. The people who write in these projects are not experts, and they have not published their research in peer reviewed journals or through academic or reliable publishing houses. These are the normal requirements in science for a source to be considered reliable. There's a good reason for this, peer reviewed journals, publishing houses and other reliable sources usually do very thorough fact checking before they publish, and they still sometimes get things wrong. When did Wikipedia start to accept the online opinions of the general public as reliable. I think our verifiability policy is important, and I don't think we can pick and choose when to ignore it. Claims that historical figures were members of this haplogroup need to be made in reliable sources. Indeed just because a group of people believe themselves to be the descendants of an individual, and they all belong to the same haplogroup, it does not follow that the individual in question also belonged to that haplogroup. Who's to say that they are correct? Possibly it is a family myth that the family name is derived from a famous person. There's no way of knowint. Possibly that man wasn't the biological father of his wife's children, that is always a possibility. These are concerns that are real. If someone publishes a reliable source that makes these claims, then we can of course cite it. But if we are relying on online speculation then I think we need to be far more careful.

In conclusion my problems are basically twofold: What's the relevance of biographies of famous people to the article? and, can we consider family-name projects reliable sources. Alun (talk) 07:03, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

I agree that there are valid verifiabilty concerns. I did make the famous people section on E1b1b which is the one unders discussion, but I had actually been hoping that it would prompt people involved in some of the genealogical research to help me get better sourcing, even if it involved publishing something somewhere, or at least making the basis of claims more clear on a website. I made it after all other parts of the article looked good and I noticed that this was a standard suggested section for any Y haplogroup article, as per this Wikiproject, and at about the same time people were telling me about many interesting examples. I do not agree with Alun's second point, which is apparently intended to describe my position, but I also do not think it is all that relevant. The dilemma is that there is work being done out there which is in a form that is hard to cite well.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:07, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

Concerning that second point I'll comment because others might be interested:
  • The argument has been made that this is about genealogy and especially Y chromosome and family-name projects. It is is not clear what "this" is in the above comment. The point is/was that Y haplogroup articles are involved in "genetic genealogy" and "genetic genealogy" is increasingly important in population genetics, including in terms of output of published articles. I mentioned that disqualifying a person's work because they try to link it to genealogy using the argument that Wikipedia is not about genealogy is unfair. I think this is a dead issue. For several years there has been no published article about I haplotypes which is as up-to-date as Ken Nordtvedt's website.
  • The comment that surname research on the internet is like a blog is problematic. Alun also admits he cites ISOGG's website. What is the difference in essence between ISOGG and a large project?
  • Genetic genealogists are not always silly. As a surname project admin I am personally always careful to make sure distant relatives have been tested before making any suggestions. Then I word in terms of the common ancestor being the person whose DNA profile had been reconstructed. Of course many accepted published sources do no such thing when it suggested it had discovered the DNA profile of Niall of the Nine Hostages. So this can not be a reason for banning information from genealogists.
  • To me it is obvious that famous people claims are a major part of what both geneticists and genealogists claim in published sources. Call it genealogy if you want, but it can not be the reason for keeping famous people sections out of Wikipedia.
In summary, verifiability is the problem, not genealogists. We should stick to the main issues.
1. Is the E1b1b famous section not good enough? (I don't really have a very strong position on it. I tend to think it is, but if not....)
2. If there is good work out there which is hard to cite, what are the possible solutions?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:07, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Another point I should possibly address. I am not sure if I have Alun right on this, but he seems to imply that there is a difference in kind between male lines defined by very old UEPs like M-35, and STR signatures and more recent branching. I think this is not correct. The E1b1b article discusses sub-clades also, with the defined ones getting more and more recent with no limit likely in this trend, and any look at the source articles will show that STR branches, showing much more recent "genealogy" is very relevant to the subject. The science relevant here involves looking at more than just UEPs. Having discovered M35 in a few people would have taught us nothing. And there is no black-white difference between old and recent relevant here.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:18, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

I think the famous members are quite useful. I think they help add an immediate human interest to the page, which is good. And I think it's the kind of information that readers looking up a particular page find interesting and valuable. Therefore my inclination would be to keep this information, if it seems credible. Jheald (talk) 09:40, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

So could you therefore explain how we get good verifiability then? This is not an RfC, we don't include the opinions of unreliable sources in Wikipedia, as far as I know. When information is not reliable, then it's not reliable. So the question is really how we determine the reliability of the information. It would also help if you gave a reason why you think biographical information about obscure individuals is pertinent to the article, rather than why you think it's of "human interest", after all no one is saying that we should not include these articles in Wikipedia, and no one is s aying that we should not include even links to the articles. I'm just saying that the actual biographical information is irrelevant to the article. Alun (talk) 21:28, 24 December 2008 (UTC)
Alun, a side remark for sure, but it seems a little overblown to equate "famous" with "obscure". It is clear that you are not personally interested in these sections, but to try to keep presenting this as an argument about relevance seems to be a waste of time, because it is POV. This has to be a discussion about verifiability as far as I can see? And I think no one is disagreeing that there is a bit of a problem concerning how to treat the online sources which are so favoured by genetic genealogists. (However saying they are simply blogs again just distracts from the more realistic concerns you have, because it is clearly a debateable generalization.)--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:06, 25 December 2008 (UTC)
I feel that a short list of people who are proven to belong to a particular haplogroup is useful in a haplogroup article. The story of human migration has been deduced by the spread of present-day populations, so such a list will provide a point of interest and comparison. In my view the list should follow the same format as that used for lists of people from towns, notable school alumni, etc. In other words the list should contain nothing more than a name, a brief description and a reference (eg, Joe Bloggs, poet and author, reference). If a suitable reference cannot be found to prove that the person belongs to a specific haplogroup then the name should not be in the list. Derived haplogroups are possibly more problematic, but as long as the claim has been made in a reliable source then I see no reason why such a person cannot be included. Some such claims (eg, Genghis Khan, where the famous person is a possible explanation for an observed pattern of closely matching haplotypes) might be best included as a short paragraph within the body of the article. Surname projects websites, pedigrees submitted to SMGF and Y-search entries are primary sources and should not be used as references. No one doubts the hard work put in by surname project admins, but such projects constitute original research. The conclusions drawn from these projects need to be subjected to the peer review process to be validated. Not all project admins will necessarily draw the right conclusions from their DNA results and pedigrees and it is not for us to make judgements about the quality or otherwise of their work. Surname project admins must therefore publish their results in a reliable source. They could for example submit articles to JOGG or to a local family history society publication. In addition, external links to surname project websites and Y-search entries should not be used in the body of the text as I believe this is in violation of WP:EL. Dahliarose (talk) 23:00, 28 December 2008 (UTC)
I'd add that people included in such lists should at least be famous enough to have their own Wikipedia entry?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:49, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
But I'd also like to question the above approach at least a bit, because it is still mainly based on quite debatable generalizations that could be interpreted as heading towards some fairly controversial conclusions...
  • Firstly, can you please make it clear what this means in practice? I take it means removing all the pictures etc? But how is making an article less colorful somehow more correct? If the problem is verifiability, then this will not be solved this way.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:49, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Stating that an off-wikipedia resource can not be used because it is original research is twisting the rules. Original research is not allowed to be published for the first time on Wikipedia, and obvious get-arounds like self-published webpages are also against the rules. However when it comes to other resources, there should not be arbitrary rules brought in to forbid their use?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:49, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
  • I think whatever the approach is to genealogical sources on Wikipedia, the approach needs to take account of how genealogical information works. In general good pedigree information is a very verifiable piece of information because it refers to information that anybody can check fairly easily. It is not the same as someone who publishes data on a webpage, for example claiming certain lab results, which no one can check. Of course any genealogical source, like any source at all, might contain mistakes, but again, the same could be said for any source at all. The point is whether it can be easily cross checked, surely?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:49, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
  • SMGF employs people to check pedigrees. They might not always get it right, but the same thing can be said about other references used in Wikipedia. I don't see how they are any different from any other research organization that might be used for Wikipedia.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:49, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
  • The E1b1b article's references include two published works and these are clearly also part of what is being questioned. Once again, this looks a bit like arbitrary rules are being brought in against genealogical resources which are not consistent with Wikipedia norms.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:49, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Surname projects are not only doing "hard work". Let's confront this subject. They are also organizations which people are to a certain extent interested in, in their own right. If the Clan Donald's DNA project says that they have Somerled's DNA signature, wouldn't it be quite questionable to say that this is just a bit of self published original research? Does the public really want to be protected from such a claim? If necessary, the Wikipedia article should use the reporter's style: "The Clan Donald DNA project has claimed...". None of the problems we have with verifiability come from "self-published" original research as it is defined in Wiki-jargon. It is in fact the opposite: they are not interested enough yet in Wikipedia.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:03, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Just finished reading the discussion above, and I have to disagree with the contention that the so-called "famous members" sections of the various haplogroup pages are trivia. Taking the E1b1b article that started this whole argument as an example, mentioning a few real-life examples of well-known people that readers can recognize who actually carry the clade seems to me to be very relevant to the article. The latter seems to be a subject of considerable interest to the reading public, with many articles written on the topic both here on Wikipedia (e.g. 1, 2, 3) and in the popular press (1 2, 3), as well as some genetic studies published in peer-reviewed journals (1, 2). If there's a concern about the relevance of mentioning that so and so was the inventor of such and such, that information was only included in the text to make it easier for readers to identify the famous E1b1b member in question. Sort of like the "President" descriptor in this study on Thomas Jefferson and the former haplogroup K2. The same goes for the photographs. It's one thing to state that John C. Calhoun was an E1b1b carrier; it's quite another to assert as much, identify him as a Vice President of the United States, and show a photograph of him for good measure. I think most persons would agree that the latter process is a lot more informative than a simple listing of names or worse, no mention of famous clade members at all. Causteau (talk) 10:24, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
We seem to be approaching a consensus view that famous people should be listed in haplogroup articles. It is now a question of deciding the format. We can only work within the existing framework of Wikipedia guidelines. These have been agreed over a number of years by the community and are unlikely to be changed. If anything the criteria, especially for sources, are more rigorous than they were in the past. If the projects articles are to become good articles and featured articles then these guidelines will have to be followed. The points Andrew raises are covered in Wikipedia:Reliable Sources in which it is stated that "Articles should rely on reliable, third-party, published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy. This means that we only publish the opinions of reliable authors, and not the opinions of Wikipedians who have read and interpreted primary source material for themselves." There is no bias against genealogical sources on Wikipedia. They just have to meet the same requirements as those used for other subjects. In other words, the data simply has to be published by a third-party source and not be self-published (eg, in a blog or an Ancestry pedigree or on the researcher's own website). Clan McDonald's claim to have the Somerled signature is self-published research so we shouldn't be quoting from it. If they publish it in a reliable source then we can quote from it. The Jefferson paper quoted above is a good example of a reliable source. SMGF is debatable as a source, but I would guess if they had the haplotype of a famous person then they would make it known in a press release or published paper which could then be used as a source. I don't see any reason why pictures of famous people with a particular haplogroup cannot be used in a haplogroup article so long as the claim is covered in the article and is supported by a reliable source. It should not however be necessary to provide biographical details within a haplogroup article. These details belong in the article on the person. The famous people do not necessarily have to have a pre-existing Wikipedia article, but they should be notable enough to warrant a Wikipedia article. There is a systemic bias on Wikipedia and many notable people in countries such as India and China for instance do not yet have Wikipedia articles. Dahliarose (talk) 13:29, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

I believe that it is clear that the above discussion is getting confusing because for some time it has been about two subjects: sources, and famous people sections per se. I propose that this section continues to be about famous people sections: format, etc. I'll create a new section for the sourcing question, which is quite general and not just about famous people sections.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:39, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Update. The famous people section of the E1b1b article has been deleted by User:Slrubenstein, an admin, who became aware of the case via the posting of the question User:Wobble on the "Reliable Sources" noticeboard. The concerns about that specific famous people section are several, including...

  • The general concern about whether surname project (family websites as User:Wobble refers to them) are reliable sources at all, ever. This all or nothing approach is coming from the Noticeboard discussion approach of User:Wobble]] about the sourcing: "An unreliable source is an unreliablke source, and that's the end of it."[6]
  • As I had mentioned much earlier, the particular Surname Projects needing to be used had no discussion section and therefore even if they are reliable sources, the claims needed to refer to more than one URL, meaning that they are exposed to accusations of being synthesis. I am open to opinions on that. I see that User:Slrubenstein is also calling for opinions on it. I am concerned on the other hand that these secpfic problems are being mentioned increasingly as if relevant to the general case being made by User:Wobble against any use of Surname Projects for anything.

However, relevant to this section of the Wikiproject talk page, another matter which is also still obviously very much part of what is motivating User:Wobble is the question of whether there should be famous people sections at all. I therefore want to post what here the latest discussion from the Talk:Haplogroup_E1b1b_(Y-DNA) page, which should have been here...--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 17:11, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Relevance to the article. I can't personally see the relevance of this to the article. The article is about haplogroup E1b1b, but these sources are all linked to haplotypes used for genealogical research. Haplogroups that are this old (>25,000ybp) are not used in genealogical research, and most of the genealogical sources cited have have data for haplotype so that families can calculate how closely related they are. One cannot make this sort of determination by knowing that one carries the M35 mutation. On the other hand this sort of thing does seem to be a standard part of these sorts of articles for some obscure reason that no one has ever explained to me. Alun (talk)[7]
Alun, the section is deleted and also under discussion on a Noticeboard, but given that you are still apparently pursuing a more general agenda I want to reply to your relevance point here, which however should be discussed on the Wikiproject board. I have tried to go over these points before and gotten nowhere, so I'll use simple language. The whole paragraph is ignorant nonsense. Indeed your terminology is so messy that we need to divide the claim up into several things it might mean:
  • There is no UEP discussed in this article to any great extent which is necessarily >25,000 years old. The article does discuss many very young clades however, all the clades known to the literature which come under E-M35.
  • Many of haplogroups are identified using STR markers which is apparently what you refer to as "haplotypes used for genealogical research". In other words, these same haplotypes are used in population genetics.
  • Haplogroups are categories of people including living people. I am in haplogroup E-M35 but not >25,000 years old. Only the UEPs which define the clades have ages like this (although 25,000 is a big number!).
  • Even the oldest UEPs (not clades) are often (and increasingly) used successfully in genealogy. They are often useful for eliminating doubtful matches, especially in the R-M269 clades.
  • The younger clades within E-M35 are being discovered exponentially. Their use in genealogy will increase exponentially, as it already is.
  • Putting all of the above aside, none of it is relevant. The deleted famous people section is about people who are in E-M35, and not about genealogy as such. It is also not about population genetics as such. That's it. These are examples of E-M35 which people like to know about, even if you personally do not. It is like pasting a photo in an article about Africa, something we are encouraged to do. Yes, you can argue (forever) about whether the article needs it or not. But please don't do that!--Andrew Lancaster (talk) [8]

Sources in this field and how to use them appropriately

The following discussion continues from here.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 07:39, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

I do not see how the Clan Donald and SMGF come under the definition of self-published sources, but even if they do see --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 19:00, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

The Clan Donald website on FTDNA is a primary source. The project results and the admin's interpretation of those results are original research. This research has to be validated in a third-party publication, and preferably in a peer-reviewed publication. If this process is not followed anyone with any theory, however outrageous, could simply publish it on their own website, then write a Wikipedia article claiming their theory as fact and quoting their own website as a reference. The pedigrees published on SMGF are also primary source material, like pedigrees published on Ancestry and the IGI, and censuses. In addition, the names of living people are not revealed in SMGF pedigrees so I cannot see how they can be used to prove that a famous person has a particular haplotype. You might be able to deduce the name of the person from the pedigree but that would require original research. This is the problem with the William Harvey section in the Haplogroup E1b1b (Y-DNA) article. The section is original research because the claim is not made in a reliable source. If the Harvey surname project admin could perhaps write up the research, describing how the haplotype has been proved, and publish it in say the Kent Family History Society Journal [9], then it will have been subjected to the requisite third-party process. The journal is what is known as a secondary source. The self-published sources section you quoted only applies to non-controversial facts. You need to read Wikipedia:No original research. Note in particular the following statement: "Wikipedia articles should rely mainly on published reliable secondary sources and, to a lesser extent, on tertiary sources. All interpretive claims, analyses, or synthetic claims about primary sources must be referenced to a secondary source, rather than original analysis of the primary-source material by Wikipedia editors." Dahliarose (talk) 23:39, 29 December 2008 (UTC)
Several things seem wrong with the above explanation, when we compare to the Wikipedia policies being referred to, and the reality of the sources under discussion, and the practical, common sense questions we should be concerned with here:
1. The policies are being taken further they they normally are, without this being justified by any specific argument relevant to the case. It is being claimed that research "has to" be validated by a third party to be allowed in Wikipedia, which is clearly not coming from Wikipedia rules. To quote from WP:SOURCES: "The appropriateness of any source always depends on the context."
2. No argument is being given for the debatable assumption that Surname projects are "primary" sources rather than "secondary" sources. Please refer to WP:PSTS and WP:SOURCES and consider what is written there. While it is clear that surname projects don't normally have formal peer review (like many sources used in Wikipedia), these are respected organizations, well known in their areas, cited in published literature (for example ISOGG), who are collecting and analyzing data, one step removed, in a neutral and non-controversial way. If they were distorting the data it would be spotted by the labs and participants working with them, and in any case there is no real reason to do that. They do not run the DNA tests themselves, though they do often do cross checks, and they are reviewing their participant pedigrees, not making them. So they are secondary sources.
3. There is even an insinuation above that Surname projects are controversial (i.e. not "non-controversial"), and might even come under the category of researchers trying to get their results into Wikipedia. Again, this is not being argued, just slipped in as if a known fact. Clearly, if that were the case then we would not have a problem getting them to publish on JOGG for our Wikipedian convenience! Please, let's not loose perspective. If these projects are controversial, then please explain why. To quote from WP:PSTS "Appropriate sourcing can be a complicated issue, and these are general rules. Deciding whether primary, secondary or tertiary sources are more suitable on any given occasion is a matter of common sense and good editorial judgment, and should be discussed on article talk pages."
4. The public does not only not need to be protected from these organizations. People interested in the subjects they study actually want to know what these organizations are doing and saying. They are interesting in themselves, and sometimes mentioned by name as entities in Wikipedia articles. They are not fringe organizations or trivia collectors or vested interests trying to get onto Wikipedia etc. So at the very least their conclusions should be allowed to be mentioned in a format that explains itself. (Example: "the Clan Donald DNA Project states that..."). If not, why not? (I am not saying that all their conclusions are interesting enough to the general public to be worth putting on Wikipedia, but in this case we are talking about "famous" people.)
Reality check and another example. Looking at this Wikiproject's suggestions, perhaps the E1b1b article should also have some STR modals for some of the main sub-clades. Where I can get these? Only one place: the E-M35 phylogeny project. No one else has published any. If they have identified a clear modal from their review of thousands of test results for say E-V22, then what is controversial about that? Their sources are clear. No one says they are controversial. They are removed at least one step from the testing and from the individuals who are tested. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 04:24, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
You need to understand the peer review process. It might be imperfect but it is the only system we have. We can only work within existing guidelines. These apply to surname projects, haplogroup projects as well as to all the respected researchers in the field of genetic genealogy. Spencer Wells and Dr Michael Hammer don't set up their own websites to publish their results they submit them to a journal. Their papers are scrutinised by referees before publication and if accepted, subject to referees' comments, then they will appear in print. Surname projects are run by volunteers. Some might be scientists, some might be genealogists, some might be geneticists. You seem to be suggesting that surname project admins should be regarded in a class of their own and shouldn't have to undergo the same peer review process which respected scientists follow. It is even more important for surname projects to have their work scrutinised by a third party. The interpretation of results and statistics is a minefield. There are all sorts of questions which need to be considered such as sample bias (a particular problem with most projects because of the hugely disproportionate number of American participants), number of markers used, sub-grouping of matches, submitted pedigrees, etc. If the E-M35 phylogeny project has information on modals for the E1b1b article then it has to be published just in the same way that Spencer Wells et al publish their data. It would then be up to the referees to look at the work and check that no false conclusions have been drawn. Dahliarose (talk) 13:19, 31 December 2008 (UTC)

It might be a good idea to break up discussion into different types of source relevant to this field. I am trying to follow Wikipedia policies according to both their spirit and wording...

The appropriateness of any source always depends on the context. Where there is disagreement between sources, their views should be clearly attributed in the text.

Appropriate sourcing can be a complicated issue, and these are general rules. Deciding whether primary, secondary or tertiary sources are more suitable on any given occasion is a matter of common sense and good editorial judgment, and should be discussed on article talk pages.


Therefore two sub-sections follow...--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:04, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

By the way, it is my proposal that despite what has happened since creating the sub-sections below, this introductory section should be used for all discussion about whether there is any point at all in discussing the details of how to judge genealogical and surname project sources on a case by case basis. The sections below were intended for constructive discussion on that - case by case if necessary. For people who believe that basic Wikipedia policies are being broken by any level of use of such sources, people in other words who disagree with the approach entirely on principle, there is not point cluttering up those sections, which had another intention.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:48, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Traditional Genealogy (pedigrees etc): sourcing issues

It occurs to me that not everyone will be aware of the special situation in genealogy sourcing. I'd like to mention some ways in which genealogical sources available do not fit easily into Wikipedia "primary, secondary, tertiary" categories, or that to the extent they do, it might be misleading....

1. Peer review in normal genealogy (I am not including genetic genealogy or medieval genealogy for example) is rare, and when it exists it is not usually a simple guideline to quality. And when the quality of peer review is really good, then it can be extremely time consuming, which means it is not something we can in practice expect everyone to do just for the benefit of Wikipedia. Wikipedia has to work with the reality of each field, and not expect reality to adapt to Wikipedia. The reality is that genealogy, a bit like Wikipedia itself, is blessed and cursed with the enormous numbers of people working on it, and their enthusiasm. This includes some of the people who do peer reviews and publish books.
2. On the other hand, genealogies are not like the standard eye witness accounts which define "primary sources" in Wikipedia WP:PSTS. They are largely collections made up of record extractions from public archives. For this reasons, genealogies would normally be divided by genealogists themselves not based upon peer review, but according to whether they are set out in a way which is easy to cross check. For this reason, peer review adds very little to most genealogical work, and is a debatable investment to make in terms of time, money and energy. (Peer review in normal genealogy tends to be used for prestige more than anything.)
3. Generally speaking whenever people discuss sourcing looking up a source in public archives is not considered to make a person a primary source. For example if I cite a peer reviewed article or a government document in a Wikipedia article no one will argue that I have become a self-published primary source. That would require deleting pretty much all of Wikipedia, and is opposed to common sense. However, this is all that good genealogies do: cite publicly available information which other people can already cross check.
4. Because of the nature of genealogies, described above, good genealogies are easy to identify using common sense and Google and that is therefore the way Wikipedians should work also, whenever they need to check any amateur collection of public records.

If there are errors in the above, let's discuss them.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:04, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

You seem to be trying to make special cases for different subsets of information. The same principles apply for genealogy as for any other field. Wikipedia relies on published reliable sources. There is probably more judgement involved in deciding whether a genealogical publication is reliable or not, and in fact the standards for publication are much lower than those used in scientific publications. Wikipedia does not expect editors to do the peer review. It simply expects people to use reliable published sources which have been subjected to some sort of third party review. For genealogical sources this could be Burke's Peerage, Burke's Landed Gentry, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and other biographical encyclopaedias, articles published in family history society publications, articles published in local history society journals, articles published by the Society of Genealogists, etc, etc. Dahliarose (talk) 11:51, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
There is no necessary conflict between the first sentence and second sentence above, and the fact that you see to think that there is perhaps shows the nature of our hopefully temporary disagreement. The same principles always apply, but, as Wikipedia policies themselves make clear, different fields and situations require different interpretations about what the relevant reliable publications are, and how they should be used. Perhaps your disagreement with what I have written comes down to saying that it is simply obvious to everyone which publications are reliable in genealogy. I'm saying that in genealogy your simplified application of Wikipedia principles is misleading, for the specific reasons I have explained.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:43, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Taking one of your examples. As a genealogist I do not consider Burkes to be anything other than primary information which needs to be checked. It has prestige but I don't think it deserves a higher level of respect than some internet resources. A key problem is that it never explains its sources. If I find a genealogy on the internet which explains its sources, then I have something that is exposed to neutral checking. Where peer review processes do not exist, then showing all potential sources of bias etc is the next best thing. Good genealogies are secondary sources, analyzing and collecting raw data, not sources of raw data, even if not subject to formal peer review. On the other hand, whatever is in Burkes is notable, and when a family I am writing about is in Burkes I tend to mention that, though in neutral language. What the Clan Donald says about itself is also notable, for anyone interested in the Clan Donald.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:29, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Genealogical research is what is known in Wikipedia parlance as original research. Genealogist use primary sources such as birth, marriage and death certificates, censuses, parish registers, wills, tax records, etc. to compile their pedigrees. Many of the genealogies published on the internet will be meticulously researched and more accurate and detailed than anything which appears in a published book, but because it is original research it cannot be used on Wikipedia unless the research is published in a reliable third-party source. Genealogical publications do not tend to have the same level of peer-review as scientific journals, so it is in fact quite easy to publish something in a genealogical publication such as a family history journal which would probably qualify as a reliable source (in other words it has been approved for publication by a third party). Burke's also counts as a reliable third-party source. The pedigrees have been published by a third-party (ie, not self-published by the individual families in question). The families submit their pedigrees and they are checked by neutral editors before publication. A good genealogist should always go back and check primary sources, as even the best published sources can be wrong, and no doubt there are many errors in Burke's. If the Clan Donald research is indeed notable, then it will eventually be published in reliable sources. In any case Wikipedia is not concerned with detailed genealogies, apart from those for a few notable families. Published genealogical sources might perhaps be used as a source for biographical information about a notable person. Otherwise there are a number of genealogy Wikis where such information can be published instead. If you are concerned about the reliability or otherwise of a particular source you might like to raise the issue at Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. Dahliarose (talk) 11:44, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Mentioning original research from outside Wikipedia, on Wikipedia, is clearly not a problem except for the question of how reliable the source is. WP:OR is about not putting original research for the first time on Wikipedia. Notability plays quite a different role in this discussion. Notability, in Wikipedia policies, is potentially a justification for mentioning the claims of a primary source. If a notable person or organization claims something on their website, we do not need to wait for a third party to publish it before citing this claim, at least as a claim by notable person or organization "x".--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:29, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
If a third party discusses someone's original research in a reliable source then that source can be quoted in a Wikipedia article. What we shouldn't be doing is quoting direct from the original research. It makes no difference whether or not the person or organisation is notable or not. If they are the primary source then you can only quote non-controversial facts. This is the only way of maintaining neutrality and avoiding bias. In any case notable scientists do not publish their work on their own websites. They submit their research to peer-reviewed publications. Brian Sykes for instance didn't publish his surname work on the Oxford Ancestors website, but published it in a journal.[10]Dahliarose (talk) 22:24, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
1. Please justify the following remark, which seems directly opposed to both written Wikipedia policies, as well as normal Wikipedia practice: "It makes no difference whether or not the person or organisation is notable or not." Contrast with the Wikipedia policy on Notability.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:34, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

We're talking about sourcing. It is always better for sources to be at one remove from the subject. Heather Mills is for instance a notable personality as reams of stuff have appeared in newspapers about her. If you are writing an article Wikipedia about her you would however rely on secondary sources (ie what other people have written about her), rather than what she says about herself. Anyone talking about themselves or conducting their own research can put a spin on the facts to make themselves or their work appear in the best possible light. Dahliarose (talk) 15:15, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

2. You mention that "you can only quote non-controversial facts". I went further gave the full set of criteria concerning questionable sources, which you've ignored repeatedly. But anyway, please now state what the controversy is which you are talking about which means that we need to treat the sources under discussion with special strictness. Is this a matter of current affairs or living people?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:34, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

There is no special strictness which has to be applied to sources for genetic genealogy articles. They just have to follow the same Wikipedia guidelines as everyone else. The policies you quoted didn't apply because surname projects are original research, whereas you seem to be suggesting that surname projects should be accepted as reliable sources in their own right. Dahliarose (talk) 15:15, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

3. Are you sure that you want to stick to the following statement: "notable scientists do not publish their work on their own websites"? Surely it is obvious that this is not always true, and this is precisely why Wikipedia rules allow for some types of cases. Once again I'll remind you that I cited quite a bit of the rules, and you've ignored that.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:34, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Of course scientists have to have their work published in a respected journal. It is the only way they have any academic credibility. All serious researchers are judged by their publications. Dahliarose (talk) 15:15, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

You don't seem to have read the basic Wikipedia policies or if you have you have misunderstood. I suggest if you don't like my answers then you go and ask for clarification on the policy pages because I don't have the time to keep repeating the same arguments over and over again. All the above points are covered in Wikipedia:No original research which states quite specifically "Wikipedia does not publish original research or original thought. This includes unpublished facts, arguments, speculation, and ideas; and any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position." If someone does any original research, whether they are Spencer Wells or the Clan McDonald, it can't be used on Wikipedia unless it's been published in a secondary source. Dahliarose (talk) 16:23, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Please read what I write and cite, and please respond to it in a way which shows you've thought about it. Assuming you already know the answers to every discussion is a bad approach in an area like this. The basic disagreement here is about how to use the rules, which are flexible, in a particular case. I don't think anything I have written shows ignorance of them. I am only questioning how you justify taking a very extreme position about how to categorize the sources under discussion which goes far beyond Wikipedia norms. Remember, Wikipedia does not tell us about how reliable every particular source is, it leaves us up to Wikipedians to discuss. But what you are saying is that for these sources, there is no discussion because it is a black and white case. That is your position which you should be willing to explain. Concerning my point 1, I'll respond below, but see WP:N. Concerning 2 and 3, why not answer so that everyone can see why you are interpreting the rules as you do?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 10:09, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

I've tried to answer as patiently as possible and to explain the policies as I understand them. I don't think you've understood the points I've been making. Perhaps it might be best if you ask for a third opinion. Dahliarose (talk) 15:15, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Research webpages run by volunteers without peer review (surname projects, Clan projects, ISOGG, haplogroup projects etc)

  • I want to start the ball rolling by pointing out that no one in discussion so far has made a clear accusation that projects in this category are involved in known controversies, are fringe organizations, are organizations publishing their ideas just to get on Wikipedia, are testing companies, are individuals, or in any other way come into a category which would get them clearly seen as bad sources due to Wikipedia policy. Neither is it true that Wikipedia has a policy that all sources must be peer-reviewed. Concerning the examples which have been discussed so far, there has also been no concrete claim that the information is wrong or even doubtful. So the question is not a simple one where we can just refer to a set of instructions in the Wikipedia policies. It is a question which should not be handled in a dismissive way.
  • Secondly, I want to point out that while everyone can probably agree that it would be nice for Wikipedians if every volunteer project working in this field published every interesting conclusion they came to in a journal like JOGG, this is not the case, simply because these are not organizations which exist for the sake of such publication. This is part of why they are so effective, often moving ahead of the "professional" field in terms of discovery and analysis of information about haplogroups. So this point is moot, except to the extent that we can personally get admins to publish, which will be only in some cases. Once again, Wikipedia can not and does not expect reality to adapt to Wikipedia. It expects Wikipedians to have knowledge of the sourcing issues in areas they edit about, and to work in an appropriate common sense way, based on the issues in each field.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:04, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
  • Thirdly I should repeat what I wrote above in what is now the introduction: that a source is not peer-reviewed does not make it a "primary source" in Wikipedia parlance. The projects we are discussing are clearly "secondary sources" even if they are not peer reviewed. They are respected and uncontroversial organizations which receive the facts they analyze from participants, labs, and other correspondents occasionally including published authors etc.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:40, 30 December 2008 (UTC)
To quote the relevant policy...

Primary sources are sources very close to an event. For example, an account of a traffic accident written by a witness is a primary source of information about the accident. Other examples include archeological artifacts; photographs; historical documents such as diaries, census results, video or transcripts of surveillance, public hearings, trials, or interviews; tabulated results of surveys or questionnaires; written or recorded notes of laboratory and field experiments or observations; and artistic and fictional works such as poems, scripts, screenplays, novels, motion pictures, videos, and television programs. The key point about a primary source is that it offers an insider's guide to an event, a period of history, a work of art, a political decision, and so on.

— WP:PSTS to secondary sources...

Secondary sources are at least one step removed from an event. They rely for their facts and opinions on primary sources, often to make analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims.


-- Even if we say that these projects are really questionable sources to people who understand how they work, here are the guidelines about questionable sources from WP:QS...

Self-published or questionable sources may be used as sources of information about themselves, especially in articles about themselves, without the requirement that they be published experts in the field, so long as:

  1. the material used is relevant to the notability of the subject of the article;
  2. it is not unduly self-serving;
  3. it does not involve claims about third parties;
  4. it does not involve claims about events not directly related to the subject;
  5. there is no reason to doubt its authenticity;
  6. the article is not based primarily on such sources;

I would say that all these criteria are met. The most important one in most cases for famous people articles would be notability. This in a sense trumps all concerns, because the public is interested in Surname projects, and does want to know what they say, even if controversial. So when they are saying something interesting then we can and should quote them.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:39, 30 December 2008 (UTC)

Primary sources can be reliable in some situations, but not in others. Whenever they are referenced, they must be used with caution in order to avoid original research. Primary sources are considered reliable for basic statements of fact as to what is contained within the primary source itself (for example, a work of fiction is considered a reliable source for a summary of the plot of that work of fiction).

I think I've answered all these points in my comments above. Dahliarose (talk) 13:19, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
I don't think you have addressed any of the substance of what I have posted, which was of course largely an exercise in stating Wikipedia policies. I think your argument comes down to saying that all sources on Wikipedia need to be peer-reviewed secondary sources (although I note that your understanding of genealogical publications such as Burkes seems a little naive), which is simply not true. If it was true then most of Wikipedia would need to be deleted. Trying to say that I am asking for special treatment for some of the most important sources in this field is missing the point entirely as shown by the fact that you are posting this in response to citations of Wikipedia policy. I am only suggesting that we should indeed use normal Wikipedia approaches, and not create special rules biased against some sources. If I am misunderstanding you, then please distinguish your position from this description. Can you also please ensure that you sign all your comments?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:36, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm only trying to explain my understanding of the Wikipedia policies as they apply to the field of genetic genealogy. I think again I've answered the questions you raised in my comment above. I'm not trying to create any special rules or create biases against specific sources. So long as the sources are not original research and have been subjected to some degree of third-party checking then they can be used. I'm sorry if I haven't signed all my comments. It's confusing when there are so many discussions going on at the same time. Dahliarose (talk) 11:50, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
The reason the discussion has gotten expansive is because I've gone to some lengths to dig up all the policies and some of your implied examples, and explain my precise questions about your position. You have not reacted to any of that at all. This happens increasingly on Wikipedia: people make vague accusations that others are breaking rules, and then write negatively about the long reactions when people actually take it seriously. To repeat: third party checking is not a requirement for Wikipedia, only a preference, and secondly your ideas about how genealogical sources work is at least debatable. Burkes never shows its sources, and is not reliable. A genealogist who clearly explains his sources is a secondary source that can be easily cross checked. Surname projects are notable and respected organizations whose data and analyzes can be mentioned on Wikipedia either way.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 08:43, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
It's difficult to know where to start with these lengthy comments. I think you've misunderstood and misinterpreted what is being said, and haven't yet understood what constitutes original research. No one is suggesting that surname projects and the like are deliberately setting out to mislead people, but the results from all these projects are original research. Surname projects are run by volunteers, many of whom are not scientists or even genealogists. Some admins might well be notable people in their own right, but most won't be. Nevertheless, regardless of their status, their work still has to be subjected to the same procedures which are followed by the scientific community. No scientific research has any credibility unless it undergoes this third-party checking process. Spencer Wells, Michael Hammer, Brian Sykes and all the other respected scientists have to follow this procedure. You seem to be suggesting that for some reason surname projects should for some reason be exempted from this process. The standards have to be highter for scientific articles on Wikipedia because the subject is much more complex than writing an article about say a pop star or film star, where you are dealing with facts rather than the analysis of complex data. Getting surname project admins to publish their results is a separate problem. They don't necessarily have to publish their results in the same journals used by the scientific community, but they have to publish them somewhere other than on their own website. You can quote from a surname project if the results are non-controversial and do not constitute original research. You could therefore state in a Wikipedia article that all the members of the Bloggs surname project tested to date belong to haplogroup G. However if the surname project makes the claim that President Bloggs who died in 1760 belongs to haplogroup G, then that claim should not be used unless it has been published by a third-party because it is original research. Surname projects are not in themselves notable. They become notable if third parties take notice of them and quote from their research. Genealogists are doing original research so they are primary sources. If their work is published in a third-party publication then it becomes a secondary source. Whether or not the publication chooses to publish their sources is irrelevant. Burke's is a respected organisation and pedigrees are checked by a professional genealogist. The pedigrees are constantly being updated. I think you must have only seen the old editions which are notoriously inaccurate. Dahliarose (talk) 23:12, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Dear Dahliarose, I think you are not reading what you are replying to. Basically: you need to be willing to at least consider that not everything I say is wrong, or else discussion is a waste of time. We are now in a circle of repeating ourselves. Your protestations concerning how difficult it is to handle "lengthy comments" rings very hollow because this has certainly been avoidable. You also could have continued replying in the general section if you had felt, as you clearly do, that there is no point discussing the details of the types of sources which might be relevant to this field. If you don't mind, in order to break the circle, I'd like to ask quite direct questions in order to try to get things more clear. Sorry if this comes across as a bit combatative. That is not the intention...
1. "all these projects are original research". There is no Wikipedia policy which says that Original Research first published outside Wikipedia can never be used. Are you saying that there is one?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes. It is all covered in Wikipedia:No original research.

I think you are misunderstanding the policy. Here are the opening lines...

Wikipedia does not publish original research or original thought. This includes unpublished facts, arguments, speculation, and ideas; and any unpublished analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to advance a position. This means that Wikipedia is not the place to publish your own opinions, experiences, or arguments. Citing sources and avoiding original research are inextricably linked: to demonstrate that you are not presenting original research, you must cite reliable sources that are directly related to the topic of the article, and that directly support the information as it is presented.

What the policy clearly means is that you are not allowed to publish new ideas for the first time on Wikipedia. Don't you agree? It does not say that you can not publish the "original research" of others which was published elsewhere. Surname Projects are a form of publication, aren't they? I would accept that this rule becomes relevant if for example I as an editor of Wikipedia would cite my own webpages as my only source, but otherwise you are citing the wrong rule here. You should be be questioning whether these third party publications are "reliable sources".
2. "volunteers, many of whom are not scientists or even genealogists". How is this relevant?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

You seemed to be suggesting that notable people had some sort of inherent right to have their work quoted even if it hadn't been published. Dahliarose (talk) 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

It is nothing to do with rights of notable people to be published in Wikipedia, because these notable people are not the ones editing Wikipedia. They might not even want to be in Wikipedia, and indeed that is often the case. If they were trying to get themselves in Wikipedia then your point would be relevant. The only "right" here is the right of Wikipedia users to be able to read about what notable people have said, when it is relevant and interesting in itself (even if wrong!). See WP:N. It is not correct for any Wikipedia editor to decide that any well-known person or organization's public statements are not good enough for the public, unless that editor is looking at the criteria on WP:N. You have not wanted to do that although I have already cited them. Please explain yourself in terms of that policy.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
3. "Some admins might well be notable people in their own right, but most won't be". Again, what is the relevance? Surname projects regularly get reported in the press. So the projects are notable themselves, at least sometimes. Am I wrong? --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

If they are quoted in the press we use the press article as the source. Dahliarose (talk) 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

You are changing the subject and again avoiding WP:N. I only mentioned that projects are mentioned in the press to show that they are notable in their field. If they are notable in their field then any uncontroversial, relevant statements they make can be considered for citation in Wikipedia.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
4. Are you perhaps equating "notable" in Wikipedia rules with "well qualified" or "published"? Surely that is wrong?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't understand the point you are making. Dahliarose (talk) 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Please read what you wrote. You wrote as if you understood WP:N which is now very much in doubt, and the words in quotes were words you were using. Please read WP:N.
5. "has to be subjected to" and "have to follow this procedure". You do not make it clear what rules are responsible for the "has to be" and "have to" but you do then extend this to surname projects, saying "You seem to be suggesting that for some reason surname projects should for some reason be exempted from this process". Are you suggesting that Wikipedia demands that nothing about any scientific subject can be put in Wikipedia if it came from a webpage? And is all science the same in this respect? A list of haplotypes is the same as a complex analyses? Where do you draw the line?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

This is again covered on Wikipedia:No original research. You would have to ask the question there if you don't agree with my answers. Dahliarose (talk) 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

I do not see anything in Wikipedia polices which says what you claim they say. Why be so vague? Quote the wording. You are going far beyond Wikipedia policy.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
6. "No scientific research has any credibility unless it undergoes this third-party checking process." You might think so personally, but this is not what everyone thinks, and there are Wikipedia rules which allow people to use information that has not been peer-reviewed, under certain circumstances. Do you truly disagree?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Not everything has to be peer-reviewed, but it has to be covered in secondary sources. Dahliarose (talk) 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Even this is not stated in WP:OR. Look again.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
7. You consistently imply that Wikipedia only allows peer-reviewed secondary sources. I've asked you to confirm or deny if this is really believe this. Can you please confirm or deny if this is what you think?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

As above, everyting has to be covered in secondary sources and not in self-published sources. Dahliarose (talk) 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

See 6.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
8. "standards have to be highter for scientific articles". You say that this is because of "complex" subject matter whereas we have been talking about family trees and modal haplotypes as examples. I don't agree that this is "scientific" in the sense of being "complex" and needing special higher standards, and I don't think you have a right to to decide this yourself based on your POV.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Modal haplotypes are in themselves controversial. It all depends on your sampling and whether or not it is biased. I don't think either of us can judge whether or not a surname project has understood their results properly, which is precisely why publication is required. If a reliable secondary source is happy to publish the work or quote from it then we can use that secondary source as the basis of an article. Dahliarose (talk) 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Actually, you previously took another more extreme position about modal haplotypes. I am glad you've shown some flexibility on this. When you say that "I don't think either of us can judge whether or not a surname project has understood their results properly" how do you make that judgment and how does it fit with saying that modals are not controversial? I guess you must really think that we can judge modals, but that there might be some other types of analysis which we should not treat as uncontroversial and cite too lightly. If you agree with this wording I'd be quite happy, and I'd agree with you. It would mean that you agree that what we are really with is a need to look at these sources case by case, rather than apply a blanket ban. But do you agree?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
9. "You could therefore state in a Wikipedia article that all the members of the Bloggs surname project tested to date belong to haplogroup G. However if the surname project makes the claim that President Bloggs who died in 1760 belongs to haplogroup G, then that claim should not be used unless it has been published by a third-party because it is original research." Where do you draw the line, and why is it that you get to draw it? (I believe the Wikipedians need to discuss this as a community and agree, which is why I started the new sections about different sources. You've not accepted that. You obviously think there is a black and white principle at stake?) For example, what if the claim was simply "according to the Bloggs surname project, families linked by pedigree to President Bloggs who died in 1760 all belong to the same haplogroup G lineage"? Please explain if that changes anything. For example, does the fact that this is about a President not make it notable?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm not drawing the line. The criteria are quite clear. If such claims aren't published in a secondary source then they are original research. If you quote direct from the Bloggs surname project you are quoting unverified original research. It makes no difference whether the claim relates to a president or to a tramp - the reliable secondary sources have to exist. Surname project websites are self-published original research. It's probably even more important if someone is making a claim about someone notable, especially a living person. Dahliarose (talk) 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Please give an exact citation from Wikipedia policies that says that anything not published in a secondary source is original research. This is far too extreme and would make Wikipedia impossible. Please also read WP:N.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Primary sources can be reliable in some situations, but not in others. Whenever they are referenced, they must be used with caution in order to avoid original research. Primary sources are considered reliable for basic statements of fact as to what is contained within the primary source itself (for example, a work of fiction is considered a reliable source for a summary of the plot of that work of fiction).

10. "Surname projects are not in themselves notable. They become notable if third parties take notice of them and quote from their research." They are often mentioned in the general press (including famous newspapers or whatever source you prefer) and are widely discussed in specialist literature also. Don't you agree?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

If they are mentioned in newspapers or other sources then we can quote from those sources. Dahliarose (talk) 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, but that is not all. See WP:N. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
11. "Genealogists are doing original research so they are primary sources." I think you are misunderstanding Wikipedia jargon here. Original research makes a source necessarily not a primary source. It is one or the other: either they are primary, in which case there are policies about how to use them as sources sometimes, or else they are original research, but not original research being done on Wikipedia, in which case the question is about their reliability. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't understand what you are saying. Dahliarose (talk) 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Then why are you being so dogmatic about your superior understanding of Wikipedia rules? No wonder this discussion is not moving. Please read WP:PSTS. I have to say that I doubt you've considered even one of the many citations to Wikipedia policies I've made in this increasingly long discussion? A primary source, for example, is an eye witness posting on their own website. A secondary source would be for example if a large group of eye-witnesses made a collective website analyzing all the different individual accounts. A secondary source is original research, pure and simple, whether it is peer reviewed or not. But being a secondary source is not the deciding factor for inclusion on Wikipedia. There are many other factors that need to be taken into account: are they writing about living people, are they writing out of self-interest, are they writing about something controversial, etc etc. Most importantly the first question is whether the source is reliable WP:RS, and a possible secondary question is whether the source is notableWP:N. So if you think surname projects are reliable and/or notable to at least some extent, then they can be used to at least some extent.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
12. The basic rule is that "Articles should rely on reliable, third-party published sources with a reputation for fact-checking and accuracy." WP:SOURCES That is what you should be addressing. You should be accusing (or not) the sources being discussed of controversies or biases or inaccuracies or conflicts of interest etc etc. Instead my impression is that you have no such concerns at all and you see this all as a point of principle?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

If reliable secondary sources exist for surname projects then we can use them. The problem is in most cases (eg, for the vast majority of surname projects) that the reliable secondary sources are non-existent. 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

So, you would argue that they are unreliable. This at least has Wikipedia relevance. However, can you please argue the case about why you think they are unreliable? It is not self-evident, and I think not everyone would agree. Even you seemed to allow some flexibility above now concerning modals.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
13. "If their work is published in a third-party publication then it becomes a secondary source." This is also a misunderstanding of Wikipedia's usage of those terms I believe. "Secondary sources are at least one step removed from an event. They rely for their facts and opinions on primary sources, often to make analytic, synthetic, interpretive, explanatory, or evaluative claims." WP:PSTS Nothing about being published by a third party. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

The surname project is the primary source and the original research. You need someone who is independent of the surname project to comment on it to make it one step removed from the event. Dahliarose (talk) 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Surname projects gather and compare data which is sent to them by individual genealogists and labs, who are the primary sources. They do quite a lot of work in many cases including contacting experts in the field, cross-checking lab results etc. This at least arguably puts them in the category of a secondary source. See WP:PSTS I understand that if a project admin were to have new ideas about how DNA recombines then just posting it in on their project webpage would not be good enough for Wikipedia. But if they state that a particular modal is most common in a particular surname or region, or associated with a particular published pedigree, they I do not think any rule in Wikipedia gives a black and white decision about whether this is good enough. That's why I tried to open case by case discussion.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
14. "Third party", at least where I can see it in the relevant Wikipedia policies and guidelines, for example the one I quote above, means publication apart from an editors own self publication on the one hand, or publication in Wikipedia itself on the other. Do you agree?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes I agree. That is precisely why we cannot use self-published research published on the Clan Donald website. Dahliarose (talk) 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Have you misread? I think you need to look again at the way the term is used in WP policies. You have it the wrong way around. For example "If no reliable third-party sources can be found on an article topic, Wikipedia should not have an article about the topic." WP:OR "Third party" sources are exactly what should be included in Wikipedia. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
15. "Burke's is a respected organisation and pedigrees are checked by a professional genealogist. The pedigrees are constantly being updated." OK, then please contrast this with other sources. Are you saying that the Clan Donald's surname project is not respected and not updated and not "professional" enough? Make your accusation clear and then please link it to Wikipedia policies and not your own POV.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

I'm not accusing the Clan Donald project of anything. It is not up to me to make judgements about other people's projects. All I'm saying is that their project is original research. It is up to other people writing in secondary sources to make the necessary judgements about the quality of the research. Dahliarose (talk) 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Actually, this is probably the core source of our disagreement. I am saying it is up to you and other Wikipedians to decide what sources are reliable and/or notable and/or relevant and/or controversial etc. Except in extreme cases (basically, if you were saying that the Clan Donald DNA project was unreliable for one of the defined very basic reasons) this can not be done by quoting rules, which on the other hand you should read more carefully. But I sense confusion, in that your very next response below starts with a sentence in perfect opposition to what you write here anyway.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
16. "I think you must have only seen the old editions which are notoriously inaccurate." So people should only cite the latest edition of Burkes? You never mentioned this rule before. Where does it come from? It seems like your own. In any case this is not the only way people cite Burkes, as you must surely know? And do Burkes truly go through material from old editions and excise doubtful pedigrees? I do not think so?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:36, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia editors have to judge which sources are reliable. If anyone used an old out-of-date edition of Burke's then I suspect that would be classified as an unreliable source. Burke's is probably a misleading example in any case because Wikipedia is not dealing with the minutiae of genealogies. Any notable person mentioned in Burke's would also have their dates quoted in numerous other publications as well. Dahliarose (talk) 16:52, 3 January 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia is full of difficult debates about sources which are sometimes good and sometimes bad. That is how it should be. So no Burkes is not a misleading example. Surname projects are like old versions of Burkes in this respect: sometimes there is no alternative but to cite them, and then there has to be case by case caution. At least this is the position I am arguing. If I understand correctly, your position is that you believe surname projects are strictly out of the question as a source for anything, due to core Wikipedia policies? But am I right about that or is that not really your understanding? For example, you now say above that maybe modals from a project could be cited, which implies that you agree with my position 100% that there might be cases where surname projects can be cited, and it is not a black-and-white Wikipedia core policy question. It really is not clear what your point is anymore.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:04, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Of course we have to use judgement as to which sources are reliable. You can't however compare Burke's with a surname project. Burke's is a secondary source. It is at one remove from the subject (ie the pedigrees of the individual families). Surname projects are the equivalent to the pedigrees published in Burke's rather than the published work itself. If someone was to publish a Burke's directory of surname projects then that would be an acceptable secondary source. It would be at one remove from the individual projects. Surname projects are original research. If they make a non-controversial statement then you can quote from the surname project (eg, the Bloggs surname project has 100 members from 20 different countries). Any synthesis or analysis of a surname project's results is part of the original research process. If the work hasn't been published then it is simply a matter of waiting until it has been published somewhere so that you can cite it. If you're writing a Wikipedia article on a hypothetical haplogroup Z then I don't see how you can start quoting the modal value shown on the haplogroup Z project's website, as you're making a judgement about the original research. The participants in the project might for instance consist entirely of Americans and so the sample will be completely biased, and the modal value highly misleading. If a third party reviews the haplogroup Z project and comments in print on the haplogroup Z modal haplotype (in other words he's made the judgement on the quality of the original research) then we can quote from his publication. I don't wish to be rude but I've got a lot to do and haven't got any more time for these lengthy debates. I've tried to explain my understanding of how Wikpedia operates based on my own experience. I don't think you understand the concept of what constitutes original research so I'm obviously not explaining things very well. I will not comment further on these issues as we are just going round in circles. I think it's best if other people comment instead or if you perhaps raise the issues on the relevant policy pages. Dahliarose (talk) 15:46, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
Dahliarose, Indeed, if you can not check your logical consistency, and if you do not have time to cite the Wikipedia rules which say things which you appear to think they say like "original research = primary sources" "third-party publication = secondary source" and "Original Research first published outside Wikipedia can never be used" then it is a waste of time for everyone concerned. I do not mean this to be rude either, because frankly I see no signs of disagreement on practical matters, should we be discussing things that way. It is just that by taking this discussion as a general "point of principle" rather than a "case by case" discussion about particular sources, I think we've lost our way. I'll give an example. ISOGG's haplogroup defining webpages (which is not peer reviewed in the classical sense) is cited these days in peer reviewed literature, and in Wikipedia. It should be, but basically, this is another "DNA project" run by volunteers and not different in kind from bigger surname projects. What you are saying at one point above means that Wikipedian editors can not cite them like this, UNLESS we cite a peer reviewed publication which is citing that website. So if we find an article citing their R Haplogroup page, we can use that, but the poor people writing about haplogroup E will not be allowed. If you look at my editing history you'll see that in different contexts I have both defended and attacked the use of ISOGG webpages, depending upon the context. (Their haplogroup pages are a very good resource, and should be used!) The key problem I have with your approach above is that you are trying to reject such a context relative approach.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 17:11, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Discussion so far on surname pages and pedigress

I guess it is clear that the above attempt to discuss different pros and cons of sources in details did not work, at least yet. I guess we are still building up experience on Wikipedia articles in this field, and have not yet got a working consensus on such things. There is in a practice a recognizable level of agreement though. For example, it was accepted by the objecting party, User:Dahliarose, that quoting the judgements of a surname project concerning what their modals are would be acceptable, while concerning other matters it might not be. Concerning peer review, Dahliarose accepted that Burkes Peerage, which has no peer review, would be an acceptable source to quote because they employ professionals and because they are reputable. On the other hand my argument for citing a pedigree from SMGF was exactly the same, but this was rejected. So for now I understand from such examples that this remains a matter for case by case discussion on the talk pages of individual articles. The arguments that have been presented perhaps serve as a template for some of the issues to be considered. Perhaps discussion will restart if anyone has anything to add or correct. Concerning the "famous people" section on the E1b1b article, I guess we therefore need to go over the pros and cons in more detail on that article's talk page. (This section of the article has been headed by three warning templates for a few weeks now: Trivia, OR, and Synthesis.)--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 18:23, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Peer review is not necessary for a source to be considered reliable. Newspaper articles are not peer reviewed, but good newspapers spend a lot of time and money doing fact checking. I expect Burkes peerage is extensively fact checked, if not the aristo's might have a great deal to say about it. I don't think there has been a scandal about them getting anyhting seriously wrong has there? That's probably due to good fact checking. We're at an impasse, what we need to do now is ask the community for input. This seriously needs to be put to the Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard. I'll do it tomorrow, I'm off to bed now. Alun (talk) 19:36, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Alun, the well-known problem of Burkes is exactly that it serves "the aristos" and finds pedigree links where none exist. It cites no sources, so no one can argue. They get many things wrong. Here is a link to a case involving Lancasters from my own webpages, but anyone who has worked on this type of genealogy will hear the same complaints often. Why are you defending Burkes all of a sudden anyway given that your argument above, that people would be watching and critical, certainly applies much better to any large surname project like the relevant ones for the famous people section on E1b1b? I am sorry but I think you are trying to fabricate a controversy which does not exist. Large respected organizations can be reliable sources, and no-one until recently that I am aware of has ever doubted that surname projects come under this category. You have stated that you have some population genetics training, which is great, but please familiarize yourself with the sources you are disparaging before casting judgement. Are they notable? Are they respected? Are they vested interests? Are they subject to lots of critical views? etc. --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:15, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
I want to define what a surname project is, because it increasingly seems that some Wikipedians have no idea. A surname project is an organization dedicated to the study of a surname, made up of people interested in that particular type of research. DNA is one tool among many they use. Large surname projects have hundreds of members, and are normally associated with and recognized by other organizations with related interests such as clan organizations, DNA testing companies, ISOGG, haplogroup research projects, and so on. Put simply, if you Google them, you get a lot of hits. They are not paid, so they have no money to make from faking anything. That they are respected can be easily checked, case by case if necessary. It has never been argued by anyone that they are an ideal source for all types of information of course, but is it really going to be argued that they are unreliable for all types of information concerning even their own speciality?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:44, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm not going to get involved in another long discussion as you haven't yet grasped what constitutes original research and the difference between a primary and a secondary source. Surname projects are original research so you can only quote non-controversial facts. There's not much point in quoting a modal value from a surname project in any case. How do you know if the value has any meaning? This requires an error of judgement on such questions as the samples used. Wikipedia does not publish articles on family pedigrees so I don't quite understand why you are so interested in pedigrees published in Burkes, on SMGF or elsewhere. If someone is notable enough for a Wikipedia article then their basic BMD dates will be published in numerous other secondary sources. You shouldn't in any case be citing individual SMGF pedigrees. SMGF is a research organisation. The pedigrees and haplotypes published on their website are their primary source material. As with any scientific research organisation they publish their results in respected peer-reviewed journals. We should be using these journals as the sources not the raw data on the SMGF website. Regarding your specific problem with Burke's, you have not provided full publication details of the source (ie, edition, date of publication, editors) on your website. Burke's has been published since the 1800s, with numerous revised and updated editions since then. I would imagine you are referring to an out-of-date edition which would be regarded as an unreliable source. As Alun says, secondary sources do not have to be peer-reviewed. A published biography is for instance a secondary source. Peer-review is however the normal process for scientific research. No secondary sources are perfect and they will inevitably contain mistakes. That is why it is best to use multiple secondary sources so that such errors can be screened out. Dahliarose (talk) 15:22, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that might indeed be best. But "best" is not necessarily a relevant standard. Putting aside the discussion about jargon your opinion comes down to saying that linking a pedigree to a test result is something we can not trust a surname research project to do, even to the extent that Wikipedia should not mention their opinion about it as a notable non-controversial opinion. I think that is a very extreme position. I think any normal journal's first question about anyone proposing to publish such basic things would be why anyone should publish a snapshot of the data from a good project with a perfectly good website that everyone else already refers to. (Of course if there was some complexity to a claim, this makes the story different. But please remember how simple the information is here which is being sourced.) This discussion has gone far beyond common sense.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:37, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
P.S. Of course I recognize that my webpage about a mistake in Burkes is not in a format suitable for Wikipedia. I have in the past gone through peer review to publish a particularly interesting proposal about another family tree, but it was never the intention in this discussion to cite that webpage the centre of discussion. I stand by what I said: that Burkes has a lot of errors which are not removed, and this is widely known by people who research aristocratic and medieval genealogy.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 15:41, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

People interested in this debate should note that it is now a matter for discussion on the Noticeboard for source reliability. See --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 12:08, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Are contour maps WP:OR or WP:SYN?

Contour maps showing haplogroup frequencies and variances are increasingly common and popular, although perhaps a little problematic. So HGH Wikiproject watchers should perhaps look at the interesting discussion going on at Alun's talkpage. I understand his claim to be that only reformatted exact copies of contour maps from published articles should be allowable on Wikipedia.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:39, 26 December 2008 (UTC)

Policy on this can be found at WP:OI.
Policy explicitly recognises the desirability of having free non-copyright-restricted diagrams and images, and therefore encourages their production, so long as "they do not illustrate or introduce unpublished ideas or arguments".
There is a certain acknowledged latitude here, that is a response to copyright law -- in particular the "idea/expression dichotomy" which is a key principle of U.S. copyright law. Essentially, under U.S. law (other countries can and do differ, but it is U.S. law that WP takes as its guide), there is no copyright in pure data or pure ideas; but there is copyright in any distinctiveness or novelty in how those ideas are expressed and/or presented. So, per copyright law, we cannot just use the original images; nor may we slavishly reproduce them. But we can produce images which process the data in standard ways to present the same or similar ideas. So that is what WP permits. And having set that standard, we similarly accept standard data-processing and presentation even if there is no previous published image.
One has to ask what the implication of an image is. If a picture is simply honestly illustrating data in a non-controversial way, that is fine and even encouraged.
But if the image is being used to push a particular unconventional or factional analysis of the data, that is much more problematic.
Context therefore matters: what is the intent of the creator of the image? Is there a particular effect it might have on readers, that could be challenged?
As regards haplogroup density plots, I think one important thing we should remember is that, even as published in printed journals, these are intended to be only very rough and ready caricatures of the most gross features of the distribution -- not detailed high-confidence density predictions. The smoothing algorithms are the simplest one could think of, taking no account even of the difference between land and water.
Given that these are only intended to be loose sketches of the haplogroup spreads, not robust predictions, I therefore don't see it as a big controversial "statement", worthy of a full-scale OR enquiry, if a new plot using slightly different or more recent data comes up with a slightly different shape. So long as we are merely plotting a neutral assemblage of the most recent data, and especially since the plot is only intended to be a rough indicator rather than a detailed prediction, that seems to me entirely uncontroversial and within the spirit of WP:OI. Jheald (talk) 23:34, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
Let me add, I think we should also remember here that, as the saying goes, "the best can be the enemy of the good". Our focus here should be to provide what we think is "good" and "useful" - not just what we know is "perfect". It's a wiki - it's only ever a preliminary draft. The important thing is to give an honest reflection of the balance of current informed opinion, and then do our best to make sure that the wiki keeps evolving and improving too. Jheald (talk) 23:48, 3 January 2009 (UTC)
If I understand correctly, Alun's biggest concern would come from someone combining very different datasets from different articles and then making a contour map based on that combination. I understand your point that contour maps should be understood as rough indicators, but I also understand that they have the potential to mislead people who do not understand how they are made. Alun seems to prefer to pie charts on maps as do some published authors. I think that at the very least everyone can agree that such combined-for-Wikipedia contour maps should give their sources (on their image page) as was discussed on Alun's talkpage. From that starting point I am not sure where exactly the line should be drawn.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 11:50, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

Problems with contour maps, maps generally and making assumptions about pooling data.

  • Verifiability. If an editor makes claims for the distribution of a specific haplogroup by including a map in an article, then the data used should at least be verifiable. So if the map claims that the haplogroup has a frequency of say 25% in say Finland, then anyone should be able to verify that figure from a reliable source. When maps are produced that do not cite their sources, then these maps are not complying with the most basic core policies of Wikipedia.
  • Original research. Contour maps are a problem. Usually researchers sample from discrete locations, they do not sample continuously, this means that most researchers reproduce their data in the form of pie diagrams which are located on a position on a map that corresponds to the point sampled. If Wikipedia editors are guessing what the gene frequencies are between these sampling locations that that is very close to original research. Even if we allow for certain amount of artistic license, we really do need to know how the contour maps are generated. How do editors identify their Contour lines? If the contour lines are just a guess on the part of the editor then how is this not OR? If a specific computer program has been used to estimate the position of contour lines, then the name of the program should be provided, along with the conditions used, in the information page of the map. It still very much smacks of OR.
  • Original research 2. When data sets are combined from different sources how are we to determine if these are compatible? Sampling from different populations using different sampling techniques means that different papers may not be compatible. When we compare a data set from one location with a data set from a different location which were published in different journals by different scientists using different sampling strategies at different times, how is it not OR to claim that these data sets can be fairly compared on the same map? That's OR because it ignores the fact that some studies are designed to measure different things to other studies. Only when we can provide a compelling rationale why the data from two (or more) different studies are equivalent can we combine them because then it is an obvious deduction. For example Andrew gave an example of a specific research team sampling several locations in several different papers using both the same sampling procedure and measuring the same SNPs. I think when one can make a case like that, i.e. that it's the same people using the same methodology, then applying the "obvious deduction" rule is fair. I don't think this rule can be fairly applied to any and all studies willy nilly.
  • Original research 3. Testing the same markers. Some studies test different markers to others. I'll give the same example that I gave before, Capelli et al. (2003) test for M173 (currently haplogroup R1) and M17 (currently haplogroup R1a1a). So the haplogroup that contains R1b is in fact R1(xR1a1a) in their study. On the other hand Weal et al. (2002) test for 92R7 (currently haplogroup P) and SRY10831.2 (currently R1a1). In Weal et al. the haplogroup that contains R1b is in fact P(xR1a1). Although there is clearly a huge overlap between Weal's P(xR1a1) and Capelli's R1(xR1a1a) these are not the same haplogroups and it is OR to treat them as if they are. Indeed in the article Y-DNA haplogroups by ethnic groups the figure for the frequency of R1b in the Welsh population is given as 89% and is cited to Wilson et al. (2001). But Wilson et al. use exactly the same genotyping system that Weal et al used, that is the figure cited for R1b in Wales in the article is totally incorrect, it is a figure for P(xR1a1) and not a figure for R1b. How is that not OR? It may be true to say that P(xR1a1) is almost the same as R1b in Wales, but it's not our place to make this assumption, that's OR.

There's far too much of a gung ho attitude here. We have core content policies for a reason, they are not there for the sake of being difficult. Wikipedia does not encourage it's editors to engage in original research for very good reasons. If we are going to say that it's OK for Wikipedia editors to produce a piece of OR that is "a rough indicator", then I can't agree. This is about what constitutes best practice. Andrew has claimed that my concerns are "nit picking". I'd counter that it's OR to claim that different papers, published by different groups, using different sampling strategies, that are attempting to measure different things, can be assumed to be equivalent. Some editors want to believe that these papers are measuring the same things, and want to believe that it's valid to combine data willy nilly without recourse to explanation, and want to produce maps that are totally unverified. That's a breach of our core policies and I don't accept that it's OK. At least give an explanation of what you are doing so others can check it, and also be clear what you are producing and why, know what it is measuring and how the different papers used compare with regards to their sampling methodology. Furthermore mostly these data are provided in a results section of a research paper, normally we should avoid primary sources and concentrate on the conclusions of research papers, and the synthesese of secondary and tertiary sources. It's easy to misrepresent primary sources. All of these points should be well known to the average Wikipedia editor, but there appears to a great many people producing, admittedly very pretty, but essentially unverified and original maps for Y chromosome haplogroup distributions here. That does reflcet on our credibility as a resource. Alun (talk) 14:32, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Hi Alun. First concerning verifiability, to me it seems no one is really disagreeing. In other words editors should make sure enough sourcing is given concerning how an contour map was put together. Concerning OR, I do not think I ever said you were nit-picking (sorry if I did), only that you might be interpreted that way depending upon which cases you would apply the above argument to. I can certainly imagine examples where your argument would be quite justified. What I note in your summary above is that you make the same type of compromise remark in the other direction: you can imagine cases where your concerns would be well covered. So, from that pretty reasonable starting point, do we actually have any cases which we still need to discuss? Perhaps it is better to look at examples? --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:39, 8 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm going to have a look at some of the maps that have been created and point out areas that are of concern to me. At the least I think we should be saying to editors that they should not be producing original contour maps. If they want to produce a contour map based on a published contour map, then I don't have a problem with that (as long as we pay due regard to copyright considerations etc.). So lets stick to producing maps with pie diagrams otherwise. Likewise if we are only attempting to give a rough idea, then I don't see the need to use data from tens of papers to produce a single map, we can rely on data from a single or a small number of sources if it's for a rough idea. I took a look at the sources for this map, it took me some time because it is not correctly cited as per citing sources. But I found all of the relevant papers. Most of these papers are explicitly trying to measure very different things. For example the paper "Y chromosome evidence for Anglo-Saxo mass migration" by Weal et al. (2002) [11] samples in a way specifically designed to exclude recent migratory events, and they say this, they want to make inferences regarding the pre-modern genetic landscape of England and Wales. But the map also includes data from the paper "Significant genetic differentiation between Poland and Germany follows present-day political borders, as revealed by Y-chromosome analysis" by Kayser et al. (2005) doi:10.1007/s00439-005-1333-9, this paper is explicitly trying to measure the modern populations of Germany and Poland. Those criteria are not compatible, we can't justify using data from these two papers in the same map. Either we need a paper that measure British samples in an unbiased way (and the map also uses data from Capelli et al (2003) but these data are not unbiased for the modern population of Great Britain) of we need a paper that samples from Germany and Poland in the same biased way that Capelli or Weal do, ie they accept samples only from individuals who's grandfathers were born within 30kn of the sampling locations. I'm going to go more thoroughly through these papers and draw up a list of the various sampling strategies they have used. It would be useful to come up with a set of guidelines we can use so we can avoid introducing OR. Alun (talk) 09:01, 12 January 2009 (UTC)

Reliability of self published family DNA projects

See Wikipedia:Reliable_sources/Noticeboard#Family_surname_projects. Cheers. Alun (talk) 11:00, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Are surname projects original research?

I have raised the issue at Wikipedia:No original research/noticeboard. Dahliarose (talk) 13:20, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

As this posting to a noticeboard was basically repeating an argument which was your last word on another noticeboard[12] (and one Alun apparently also felt to be a fair summary of his case? [13]) before you were asked to refrain[14], I think you should read WP:PARENT. Anyway, I am glad that the reply you got apparently cleared up one aspect of your concerns.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 14:54, 19 January 2009 (UTC)


There is a reference on the article Haplogroup E1b1b (Y-DNA) using this source from the International Society for Genetic Genealogy. From their website the organization's mission is -"is to advocate for and educate about the use of genetics as a tool for genealogical research, and promote a supportive network for genetic genealogists."

The organization compiles information from various publications and creates genetic trees. That are available on its website such as Y-DNA Haplogroup Tree 2009. Where it states: ISOGG (International Society of Genetic Genealogy) is not affiliated with any registered, trademarked, and/or copyrighted names of companies, websites and organizations. This Y-DNA Haplogroup Tree is for informational purposes only, and does not represent an endorsement by ISOGG"

The initial impression I have is that they are a private organization that provides a support network for genealogists. They do a good job of compiling information, however, they do not seem to have an established publishing system, or a system of peer review. Neither are they accountable for anything that is published on their website. For controversial matters, should they qualify as a reliable source. Wapondaponda (talk) 08:29, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

For haplogroup naming and classification, yes. They offer the most reliable, "mainstream", up-to-date synthesis of news on the structure of the SNP tree; and have been cited in peer-reviewed journals in that regard.
Beyond that, for other information, a citation to their summaries is better than no citation at all; but if there is debate on a point, it would be a good thing to cite more authoritative sources as well. Jheald (talk) 08:56, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree with Jheald's description. I am not sure how the term "private organization" is intended by Wapondaponda, but ISOGG is volunteer run, but with a broad membership, and a respected active membership. Their SNP tree is noted everywhere now. For other things their reputation for reliability will vary. In some cases their published information will perhaps be notable in itself to cite.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 20:08, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Social implications of haplogroups?

User:Wapondaponda posted the following as a new section on several haplogroup talkpages. I initially responded on Talk:Haplogroup_E1b1b_(Y-DNA). I think it belongs here so I copy it to here...--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:36, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

I stumbled across this abstract Genetics and Tradition as Competing Sources of Knowledge of Human History

Recent genetic studies aiming to reconstruct the history of human migrations made a claim to be able to contribute to the writing of history. However, because such projects are closely linked to sociocultural ideas about the categorization of identity, race and ethnicity, they have raised a number of controversial cultural and political issues and are likely to have important potential socio-political consequences. Though some such studies played a positive role helping the researched communities to reaffirm their identity, other projects yielded results that contradicted local narratives of origin

Since the discovery of these haplogroups many people have attached significant importance to these haplogroups. It seems that these haplogroups have become badges of honor and symbols of ethnic identity and pride. So as the above study mentioned, it becomes a problem when the results of these studies have contradicted local narratives of origin. Some have even suggested that some scientists have been biased and have skewed results of their studies to align with local narratives.

I have mentioned earlier that I think it is possible that people attach maybe a little too much importance to these haplogroups. Firstly, the mitochondria started out as a primitive bacteria that hitched a ride on one of our ancestral single celled organisms. They had a symbiotic relationship and the primitive bacteria later became fully incorporated into our ancestral single celled organization. Technically, the Mitochondrial DNA is not "our DNA". The D-Loop section used for haplogroup identification is in the non-coding or junk DNA section of the mitochondrion DNA. Because the mitochondria is a "foreign body", its DNA does not recombine during sexual reproduction. Likewise the Y-chromosome also does not recombine. Apart from determining sex, the y-chromosome seems to be relatively insignificant relative to other chromosomes. The Y only has 78 genes whereas the X chromosome has over 1500 genes. Much of the Y is junk DNA. In fact the Y started out as an X chromosome, but due to loss of function has lost one of its legs due to shrinkage. Women can do fine without a Y chromosome, but males cannot survive without an X chromosome.

The D-loop of the mitochondria and NRY of the Y-chromosome are the most useless parts of the human genome with regard to phenotype. Yet they are the most useful parts of the genome in determining ancestry. Mutations in junk DNA do not influence phenotype and accumulate at much faster rates than in coding regions. A mutation in an actual coding region of gene will likely influence phenotype. Mutations on average are more likely to be bad than good, since our DNA has already been tried and tested by millions of years of evolution. Consequently, coding genes vary less across human populations and are less useful at determining phenotype. The mitochondria and the NRY are thus not good candidates for determining the so called ethnic superiority or inferiority of a population. They are just junk DNA.

The reason for all this is I think it may be a good idea in the future to create an article that deals with some of the social consequences of the human genome. Already the above article deals with the topic. Another article Genetic ancestry and the search for personalized genetic histories also addresses the conflict between social identity and genetic history. E1b1b appears to have important social consequences at least based on the popularity of this article. Wapondaponda (talk) 20:19, 23 March 2009 (UTC)

Whilst not wishing to sound uninterested in any social problem, it almost seems like you are saying that there are obvious "important social consequences" that can most clearly be seen "based on the popularity of this article". Is the E1b1b article even popular? My first impression is that your remarks are highly speculative and any effort to write it up would mainly be original work. For a first remark, conflicting "social identities" are a problem of human reason. The conflicts develop without any need of genetics. People create narratives, and these narratives come into conflict with each other and with facts that will inevitably sometimes conflict with the narratives, because the narratives. I am not really sure where this leads.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 22:50, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes this article is very popular. This article (E1b1b) cites over 51 references, but the articles of its ancestors Haplogroup E (Y-DNA), Haplogroup DE (Y-DNA) and Haplogroup CT (Y-DNA), which I think are more important, only cite 15, 15 and 4 references respectively. Surely its popularity is due to its some social significance possibly relating to ethnic identity. I am still trying to figure out why this particular article is more detailed than and more active than other haplogroups. Maybe I didn't articulate the social implications very well, I will try to simplify them.
  1. The genetic data on haplogroups will often conflict with local or historical narratives. For ::example the bible vs mitochondrial eve.
  2. The genetic data may conflict with a person's social identity.
  3. There may be bias among some, not all, scientists when it comes to studies regarding the geographical origins of certain haplogroups.
  4. These biases tend to skew scientific studies to be in line with historical narratives or social identity.
One example is what has been the official position by Chinese authorities regarding the origins of the people of China. The official position is that the Chinese people are not descended from people originally from Africa, but that they are descended from Peking Man. this article has some of these details. Wapondaponda (talk) 00:10, 24 March 2009 (UTC)
  • I am not sure how you equate popularity with number of references. I think this just relates to the question of how to divide up the articles about parts of a phylogeny. For example we could move all detailed material about sub-clades into an enormous article about DE, or on the other hand we could split up E1b1b into articles about each of its smaller sub-clades. In fact if you think about it, it is logical that this will happen - as more recent clade divisions become more clear and we can say more about them, they become the focus of research and the bigger articles on Wikipedia will be those ones.
  • Still, even if this showed the article (E1b1b) was popular, then how does this show that there are "important social consequences"?
  • I do accept that genetics contributes to the many sources of facts which conflict with myths, thus causing "social consequences", but are they really important? The genetic data is indeed being distorted to create new myths which will then one day become a source of confusion as well. I find that some academic authors seem rather over-enthusiastic to play these games.
  • But still facts have always come into conflict with myths. Villages who have believed something wrong about their neighbours for generations suddenly find themselves confronted with a new text book, etc. Genetics is just a part of the bigger movement of critical scientific thinking which comes into conflict with myths.
  • In most practical examples, the myths which genetics comes into conflict with are myths about differences which is not real, so genetics is in conflict with the worst types of myth. Where genetics has been most questionable however is perhaps where do-gooders have over-stated their case and then opened themselves to criticism. I think the Adams paper last year about Iberia where they claimed 20% of Spanish ancestry was Jewish was silly for example, based on the data they had, and brings the discipline into ill repute. Such incidents get discussions going. The discussions perhaps feed interest in some of these haplogroups, but those public debates are healthy, and show the public's ability to critically digest science which is relevant to it. I don't see it going much beyond that. There are no political or social movements based on haplogroups that I am aware of and any attempt to start one would collapse as changing data from science arrived.
  • Even if the truth is dangerous, I think it is a big call to support myth against truth, and certainly beyond the scope of Wikipedia. There are alternative wikis which deliberately bias their contents, for example away from evolutionary theory, but Wikipedia is not such a wiki.--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 06:35, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Andrew, the "social consequences" of these haplogroups are in my opinion, the main reason why we are having a lot of difficulty regarding these articles. In the past few weeks since I started looking into these articles, I have witnesses numerous and unnecessary attempts to somewhat distort information contained in these articles. If we don't address this issue, there will be prolonged and unnecessary edit conflicts on several of these articles. Instead of reporting all relevant information, some editors are selectively cherry picking information that favors one view over another. As you point out, some scientists are actually stoking the flames, by injecting politics into their studies. Even though peer reviewed studies are the most reliable sources, scientists have ego's and issues regarding their own identity and unfortunately, these sometimes end up in their studies. If a particular scientist publishes a study that would seem to promote an ethnocentric view of the scientist's own ethnicity, wouldn't there be a conflict of interest. Wapondaponda (talk) 08:38, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

I am not sure I agree. I think rudeness, WP:ownership issues, and calling people racist instead of responding to their arguments (the problems I keep seeing) are not problems particularly strongly connected to articles about Y haplogroups, as opposed to all types of articles involving anything to do with issues that define human populations. They also have very little to do with the number of references in this article (E1b1b). There are lots of references because of one editor, me, who has not contributed as much to other haplogroup articles. One person does not a social issue make.
Concerning the peer-reviewed articles, I think on Wikipedia we can only try to quote them as neutrally as possible. We can debate them on other forums, and my sense is that this debate is happening, and is being heard at the right level.
Concerning your last sentence, this approach really worries me. Whatever you want to call it ("political correctness"? "negative discrimination"? "politically managed science"?) it seems similar to Cadenas2008 saying that any paper about Indian DNA can be ignored because of the potential effect of Hindu nationalism via the sponsoring of research. I think creating circular arguments in order to selectively ban sources based upon their ethnic associations is against the fundamental ways in which Wikipedia works, and if you think about how someone might apply this type of logic to whatever your favorite sources are, it is also completely in opposition to what you are aiming at. (Note your comments above about cherry picking. Aren't saying that Wikipedia editors should cherry pick?)
We have to judge source reliability according to neutral norms, as is Wikipedia policy. We absolutely can not start saying that serious peer-reviewed articles and authors should be ignored just because an author is a member of one of the ethnic groups discussed in the article!
I recently said to User:Ackees that I find trying to manage what scientific facts get reported based upon political ideas heads us in the direction totalitarianism. I stick by that, although I realize this might sound extreme. You just need to look at how totalitarianism came into being historically. Good intentions are very blunt tools.
By the way, this is really the wrong forum for this discussion. How about on the relevant WikiProject talk page?--Andrew Lancaster (talk) 09:28, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

Discussion relevant to this topic: --Andrew Lancaster (talk) 13:58, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Mitochondrial Eve in popular culture

There is an active debate at Talk:Mitochondrial_Eve#Do_we_need_a_Pop_Culture_section regarding the inclusion of pop culture information in the article. Looking at the history of the article, there have been a few edit wars. Contributions from more editors would be helpful in bringing the disputes to some sort of resolution. Wapondaponda (talk) 07:31, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

CfD debate on RSOH category needs informed input

SeeWikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2009_April_2#Category:Recent_single_origin_hypothesis. Johnbod (talk) 21:36, 5 April 2009 (UTC)

Talk:Moors # Seensawsee's edits # The facts

Hi! You might be interested in the discussion at Talk:Moors#The_facts. Thank you. The Ogre (talk) 14:44, 26 April 2009 (UTC) The Ogre (talk) 14:44, 26 April 2009 (UTC)