Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2003-11 > 1069542440

Date: Sat, 22 Nov 2003 18:07:20 EST

In a message dated 11/22/03 11:46:45 AM Pacific Standard Time,

> It appears that newcomers to the List will not be given any guidence by the
> inclusion of one link to one site on the web which will get them started and
> perhaps deflect some of the repeat questions that we see here that reflect
> the fact that many don't have the basic understanding of the matter to even
> formulate a clear question. It is not their fault - they are brand new to the
> topic. I don't know why it is a "weak agenda". It involves giving new
> subscribers a basic tool to get them started (and which will serve as a reference
> guide at later points). Common sense folks. I don't know if there is some
> hidden agenda of which I certainly am not aware. What, so "let them eat
> cake"? I feel a responsibility to help those struggling with the topic, but I
> also expect that they will have done a bit of homework first. It seems that
> there is a "sink or swim" attitude afoot. In addition to being a clinician, I
> am also a teacher. I have a textbook for every course I teach. It !
> is an
> esssential tool. Is the concept different on an Internet List where we
> speak of SNPs like everyone should know what this means. How many times has Ann
> or others given a definition of this one term?

Truth to tell, I would have a hard time settling on an official "one link to
one site." Charles is a good candidate, but here are some problems I see with
this approach:

Charles has an excellent set of links, but if I "endorse" him, that could be
take as slighting others who have labored on their own creations. Every list
I've seen has some unique discoveries to share, as well as common favorites.

Charles' page has a prominent link to Family Tree DNA and a discreet link to
his own consulting services. How would DNA Heritage or Bonnie Schrack feel if
everyone was directed to Charles?

Charles, bless his heart, has promptly responded to suggestions made just
today for new links. David, you suggested adding Andrew Bond's collection of
research papers. What will our newcomer Aimiee think if she opens that link? The
more comprehensive Charles' page becomes, the more intimidating it will be,
which would defeat the purpose of a single starting point. (But I have a
suggestion or two, anyway!)

How do people learn? Take today's SNP question, for example. If we sent Tia
to Charles' page, what would she do? She
might do well to pick the glossary link, which does have a definition. But I
think she would still be totally at sea -- the definition is very abstract, and
Tia has a concrete question. For all I know, she's totally at sea after my
answer, but at least I made some effort to tailor my response to her current

If I felt someone wanted a broader perspective, I might send them to "Why Y?"
(which is one of my suggestions for Charles). This was a page which I've
recommended before, but I don't think it registered on you until your current need
was to learn more about Alu -- then it hit the spot. I'm that way, anyway --
things often just don't register on me unless I can relate them to my current
needs or questions I've had at the back of my mind.

I guess what I'm saying is that I don't think we can prescribe a one-size
fits all solution or a required reading list. Not everyone is going to be
interested in SNPs or Genetic Distance or whatever, and no one should feel obliged to
follow every thread. But everyone should feel free to ask questions about
their current needs. Don't let a few people monopolize the conversation. As I
said, I try to relate my responses to specific situations. If you have a
question, you can be sure there are lurkers on the list who will be glad that someone
steered the conversation in a different direction!

I have not ruled out including a link to a single site in the Welcome
message, though. I mentioned it in my previous message in this thread, but I haven't
received any feedback on whether people think it would make a suitable
starting point.

Ann Turner - GENEALOGY-DNA List Administrator
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