In questions like Finding paternal family using DNA? I have seen users use abbreviations for great grandparents like:

  • GGrandparents (or GGF and GGM) for great grandparents
  • GGGrandparents (or GGGF and GGGM) for 2nd great grandparents
  • GGGGrandparents (or GGGGF and GGGGM) for 3rd great grandparents
  • etc

I think it is a difficult to read convention.

When we see it used in a post should we edit it to be more readable?

  • Or, possibly, (for example) 2xg grandfather / mother, 3xg grandfather / mother, 4xg grandfather / mother ..? – sempaiscuba Aug 7 '17 at 0:26
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    @sempaiscuba Are you thinking those should be edited too? If so, I agree, although they are nowhere near as egregious as "great-great-great-great-grandfather" and "GGGGGM". – PolyGeo Mod Aug 7 '17 at 0:46
  • I certainly agree that it would make posts much more readable if there were an agreed convention. Personally, I'm really not a fan of "great-great-great-great-grandfather" or "GGGGGM". I'm not sure about "3xg grandfather / grandmother". I suppose people started using "3xggf" / "3xggm" because it's less typing. I certainly see it on Twitter a lot. – sempaiscuba Aug 7 '17 at 0:56
  • I tend to use "3GGF" for third great grandfather, etc, as it's compact and clear-ish. "G"-strings do have some problems with readability (and chafing! ;) but this is not likely to present a major issue unless dealing with multiple ancestors going back >7 generations. – AndyW Aug 24 '17 at 8:38

I love consistency and congruity. But in this case it really is inconsequential to the question or answer how many Gs there are. I say let the author of the question or answer decide on the convention they want to use to describe how many greats or Gs their ancestors had.

I'm all for improving readability, so if there are lots of Gs and it's distracting, then by all means edit it. But if it really doesn't make any difference to understanding the question, then let the post author use the convention of their choosing.

We have to be careful not to edit the original author's style too much, as I've seen on other Stacks people get offended by minor stylistic changes. These days I try to limit my edits on questions and answers to spelling and grammar, occasionally breaking up large paragraphs or adding lists when useful.

Bottom line: if it doesn't substantially improve the question, leave it be.

  • I agree -- there are very few questions where it makes a difference how many greats are involved. – ColeValleyGirl Mod Aug 7 '17 at 8:40
  • FYI, although modern German uses mulitiple "Ur" in the same way to indicate preceeding generations, there is an older scheme that was used in published works: de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generationsbezeichnungen – bgwiehle Aug 10 '17 at 11:32

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