Haplogroups: the branches of the Family Tree of Man, confusing, insightful, vague, a first step, ancient migration, exciting, uninteresting, always changing ... Haplogroup gets many descriptions - and they may be flattering - or not - depending on your perspective and experience. If your perspective isn't positive, you need to identify the source of your problem and address it - as your own Haplogroup information should be interesting, fun and maybe even useful.
Haplogroups are the arbitrary labels for the branches of man as defined by our DNA. For a man - the y-Haplogroup is the branch of the family tree for his father's father's ... father's paternal line - as determined from information on his y-chromosome over the past 60,000 years. If he is of African heritage, he's probably A, B or E; if he's native American, he's most likely Q; if he's east Asian, he's probably O, C or D; and most Europeans are I, J or R. However, mankind has always been on the move - so you can find almost any haplogroup on any continent.
If you have been yDNA tested at 12 or more markers, you probably have a haplogroup estimate. Your haplogroup estimate may have a number of characters or it may be very short. The length is a reflection of the depth of knowledge that has been discerned about your branch and the confidence the estimator has to apply this knowledge to your estimate - based on your markers. Through the years, my haplogroup has gone from R1b to R1b to R1b1b2 when it was estimated. Te extra detail was due to more learning by the researchers finding and understanding more information.
You can change your Haplogroup definition from being an estimate to one that is based on actual testing. The basis for the Haplogroup definition is through the identification of mutations along the y-chromosome called single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) which occur once in 10s of 1000s of years in mankind and are inherited by the descendants of the man with the mutation. By testing the y-chromosome, these SNPs are being located and mapped into the branches of man. A number of the SNPs in your profile becomes the letters and numbers in your Haplogroup designation. We call these subdivisions "clades" and a "Deep Clade" test would be checking your profile for specific SNPs which would identify which branch you is yours - with more detail.
My current y-Haplogroup is based on testing and is R1b1b2a1b4c*. And - I am waiting for one or two more characters to be added at the end based on a new SNP found in my DNA.