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Mar 28 2012

Blag Hag Census is open again

I was obviously seeing red last night because I thought PZ purposefully tried to ruin my data. It ended up not being malicious in nature. I know it’s hard for some of you to believe, but I’m not an emotionless robot or Vulcan, and sometimes I get mad. PZ didn’t realize what he was doing, I overreacted, the end. Let’s just leave it at that and move on with our lives instead of overanalyzing apologies and motives and bullshit. Any comment speculating about this dumb situation will be deleted.

The survey is open again. I will keep all responses that were previously submitted except ones that were obviously trolling or mentioned pharyngulating the poll.

And yes, I know some questions are US-centric. I know I forgot an “Other” response for the “How do you keep updated” question. I know I suck at survey making. I guess I’ll just have to not publish my results in Science like I had originally planned.

66 comments

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  1. 1
    Stuart Taylor

    I’m no expert at survey making, but what if (next year), you release the survey questions before you release the survey and get people to vet it before you polish it up? Or something?

    People like being involved and commenting on stuff, so I hear, so you’ll probably get some great feedback. Soft Drink.

  2. 2
    Leah @ Unequally Yoked

    My sympathies! Everyone’s entitled to be protective of their data. I just want to say that I really enjoy these surveys and your analysis posts. It’s a nice way to give feedback and hear more about how you approach the blog. And don’t worry too much about rigor, you can always publish in some of the polisci journals! (Yes, I was a polisci major).

  3. 3
    Sercee

    Just mentioning… in my original response I answered that I learned about you through Pharyngula. That’s a true response, not his imfamous “pharyngulation”. But then, you wouldn’t have put that as a choice if you thought it wouldn’t be picked.

  4. 4
    treefrog

    but I love robots and Vulcans…

  5. 5
    Jen

    A lot of people pick they found my blog through Pharyngula – I’m not deleting those. A lot of people wrote in the free response that they were pharyngulating my poll – those are the ones I’m deleting.

  6. 6
    Erin

    Me too, I found Jen through the Creation Museum adventure… of course, I think I filled in the Survey before PZ set his pharyngulites on you.

    Jen, ::hugs:: thanks for all your hard work! Even though I no longer live in the US, I don’t mind the US-centricity!

    Being a fellow-grad student in the throes of thesis-madness, I can sympathise with being short to temper. Hang in there!

  7. 7
    treefrog

    and sometimes I AM a little mad…

    so don’t mind me, I’ll go back to lurking, now :)

  8. 8
    jaranath

    Stuart, I’m no expert at survey making either, but I think that’s an interesting idea. Not that I think Jen shouldn’t do whatever she damn well feels like! But now I wonder…is that “a thing”? Is it a formal practice to sometimes enlist the surveyed population to help design the survey? I wonder (non-snarkily) how that works out.

  9. 9
    Gus Snarp

    Enough about Pharyngulating and survey design, I have a real problem: I said Hufflepuff when I meant Ravenclaw! Please delete one Hufflepuff and add one Ravenclaw to the results. Or just chalk it up to the margin of error.

  10. 10
    fort nerd

    I want to choose both Battlestar and Serenity! >.< ( I went with BSG with pain in my heart)

  11. 11
    george.w

    I am often asked to fill out academic surveys written by our exalted research-guru PhD’s… and trust me you are not the only one struggling to write surveys. Crowdsourcing the questions (when it’s this crowd anyway) sounds like a pretty good idea.

    *Only one space-oriented option… that is evil*

  12. 12
    Icaarus

    Not to knock your choice in sci-fi, but it’s all new (well except Dr. Who) so yea, go back in time, and try some forgotten fun. “The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951)” is good. “Buck Rogers” is classic, R.O.R. is the progenerator of all (though I cannot understand Russian) and “Transformers (1986)” had Orson Wells. And lest we forget “Forbidden Planet” for without it both “Lost in Space” and “Star Trek” would be lacking key plot devices.

    On the “How much do you enjoy reading various topics on Blag Hag?” question, I am not sure my opinion of enjoyment correlates with the importance that I read it. Giving us more of what we want might just be taking away some of what we need. Keep up the good work Jen.

  13. 13
    D-Dave

    Sneaks in, leaves a Cake of +3 Chocolate where Jen can find it, sneaks out.

  14. 14
    ewan

    There is a useful lesson to be drawn from all this, especially for a lot of Pharygulites, that while you might be utterly confident in your condemnation of what you think someone did, said or meant, it’s much harder to be certain that that’s actually what they did, said, or meant.

  15. 15
    ewan

    Oh, and the correct term is ‘fizzy drink’ – a soft drink isn’t necessarily carbonated.

  16. 16
    paul

    When I made that crack here about PZ crashing the poll, I was kidding. I had no idea he would go and do such a thing, nor had I made any mention of this site on Pharyngula. I thought that he only Pharyngulated public opinion polls on religious or political issues.

  17. 17
    Storms

    Jen,
    Please don’t throw out my data. I love your blog, wit and perspective. I did list Phyrengula as how I heard about your blog, but filled out the survey honestly almost a day before PZ even listed it.

    Keep up the great work.

  18. 18
    Storms

    Ok, nevermind. Should have read your comment in the chain first.

  19. 19
    leftwingfox

    Filled!

    Annoyed there’s no Farscape on the SF list =/

  20. 20
    tonymoss

    I truly meant what I said about Chewbacca.

  21. 21
    August Pamplona

    I picked the Firefly choice, which was the Pharyngulation suggestion, but did so because I really like show.

    In fact, Firefly is among the 4 DVD titles I own: Firefly series, Serenity, Hitchhicker’s Guide To The Galaxy movie (horrible, horible mistake :-( ) and The God Who Wasn’t There (it was free).

  22. 22
    Sheila

    I live in Illinois, but grew up in Texas. If you are curious about how regions might influence someone’s thinking, you might ask where they grew up?

    Ps. Firefly really is my favorite.

  23. 23
    Annabelle

    Yay, I’m glad you’re going to get your data. :) For what it’s worth, I thought your survey questions were fun and interesting, but then I love answering surveys.

    …and Doctor Who is totally best.

  24. 24
    Kels

    The Science Fiction question needs a Rocket Robin Hood option! ^___^

  25. 25
    Kels

    If I recall my SF history correctly, it was R.U.R. that coined the term Robot, and it was written in Czech, not Russian. Just some mild pedantry, carry on.

  26. 26
    Icaarus

    Messed up the acronym and language, man am I red faced

    *hides in corner clutching tightly geek membership card*

  27. 27
    MsLeading

    You really don’t suck at survey-making. I’ve spent a good deal of time studying psychological measurement and the bottom line is that no survey question can perfectly accommodate every single damn person who reads it. A reasonable person recognizes this, and does her best to represent herself honestly and accurately for the purposes of the survey; an unreasonable asshole yells at the survey-maker for not being able to perfectly capture every possible nuance and variation a human being could possibly embody.

    To everyone whining about the gender/orientation questions? SFTU. Right now. Seriously. A multiple-choice question is by its nature falsely categorical; it artificially segments the continuity of human expression into neat little boxes so that we can make sense of the data with our limited human brain capacity. If you don’t fit into the box perfectly, hooray for you! You’re an interesting person with interesting individual variance! You are a beautiful, unique snowflake! You neither need nor deserve your own perfect little question option that is tailor-made for ever facet of your identity. Recognize the survey for the reality-approximator it is, and quit fucking whining already.

  28. 28
    crowepps

    Only suggestion is that for us geezers you include the option ‘what’s a pokemon?’

  29. 29
    Quietmarc

    Me too! Why so difficult?!

  30. 30
    machintelligence

    I guess I’m not a full fledged geezer, just a crusty old fart. I know what a pokemon is, but not enough to have a favorite.

  31. 31
    treefrog

    LOL, I only knew because I had a child growing up through the early years of Pokemon cartoons, card game competitions, video games, etc. Oh, I learned ALL about Charizard, let me tell you.

    The favorite of the adults in the house was Farfetch’d, a bird that carries a leek (yes, the vegetable) that it uses as a weapon. Anything that pushes the boundaries of absurdity that far had our vote.

  32. 32
    Cunning Pam

    This! So much, this!

  33. 33
    gworroll

    That gender question could probably be improved. Simply adding all suggested categories could make the question so long as to dominate the poll, and so specific that no useful trends can be determined from it. Especially for something that doesn’t have a whole team and some serious software tools to analyze on large datasets, some questions will have to be vastly simplified from whatever we might think of as the ideal. Still, some improvement is probably possible.

    At least, an “other” option, with a text box for specifics, would help I think. It’s not ideal, but on any question of identity, no reasonable effort at being inclusive for a quick readership poll is going to get everyone. Having a catchall “other” is better than ignoring them entirely.

    A specific option for those who identify as both(I don’t know the technical term for this, though I think it was mentioned in the other thread) might be a good addition too. True, multiple options can be selected, and the analysis script could separate these answers from single answers, but this would seem to be a sufficiently distinct category to be listed separately.

    Hmm. I had suggested trying to find a way to get more specificity into the race question, and yeah, that has the same problem as here. At least that one has an “other” option. Perhaps retitle “Other” as “Other/Specific subcategory”? Small change, but probably the best way to introduce more specificity here without this question dominating the entire poll. If any major trends show there, maybe look at updating the primary options.

    I also forgot to mention in the other thread, no “Deist” option.

  34. 34
    Jen

    Shit, I didn’t click the “Other” option for gender? No wonder people are cranky, I meant to do that :(

  35. 35
    Tuválkin

    Good turn of events. I took the survey, of course. Here’s below what I put in the comments, with some redacting. (Guess I’m not a true lurker any more.)

    About «How would you describe your race or ethnicity?»: I know it is not your fault, but “Latino”, even whenwhere this silly concept is used, is transversal to race. (Not to mention that “race” is a slippery concept of hardly any use, and not universally part or whole of an individual’s self image.)

    About «How would you describe your political views?»: I’m assuming “Fiscally” is meant to be broader than just taxation, but to encompass in general the role of Government in economy and the role of economy in society.

    About «What labels do you use to describe yourself?»: Arr, Pastafarianism *is* a religion! Seriously, you wanna count them separately, of course, so maybe “Religious (other)” instead of “Religious” next time?

    About «What is the correct term for a delicious carbonated beverage?»: Actually for me it would be “that stuff Amricans drink because their tapwater is 3rd-worldish and that makes them fat”. ;-)

    About «What is your favorite space themed movie/tv show?»: Was PZ pushing for Firefly? I never saw his post, really. I did vote for it, but I wish I could put Aliens in 2nd.

    Also, concerning fizzy dring, this map (and its context, and source).

  36. 36
    Joey Maloney

    I know it’s hard for some of you to believe, but I’m not an emotionless robot or Vulcan, and sometimes I get mad.

    Maybe it was just your time of the pon farr.

    Too soon?

  37. 37
    gworroll

    That was the most surprising, and bothersome, imperfection on the poll to me. Not surprised it turned out to just be a moment of forgetfulness.

    Well, all these posts should still be here for reference when you put the next one together, so that should help you remember next time.

    Oh- I was also thinking that an employment question might be interesting, though there might be some confusion between primary career path and the job someone has right now.

    Educational field, and languages spoken, could be interesting. These could be exceedingly long questions if you try to include too many specific options though. For education, going with very high level categories(Science, for instance, rather than Biology or Physics) could work well. Not perfect, but compromises have to be made. Just include an “other/specific” textbox.

    Languages… there are minefields. With just a text box, graphically presenting the languages would be made much more difficult. “Spansih”, a simple typo, suddenly becomes difficult to include. Ticky boxes- how many do you have? How do you select which languages? Where do you draw the line between dialect and language, especially if both would qualify for a ticky under your criteria? Or neither would on their own, but they would together. There are many cases where this line gets very fuzzy. Still, I think it would be interesting to poll some language data.

  38. 38
    Eric O

    I’m glad to see that you and PZ seem to have worked things out. I love both of your blogs and I hate feeling like I have to pick a side.

    I’ve always been fizzy-drink confused. I use “soft drink” and “pop” interchangeably.

  39. 39
    Katalina

    HA! I love answering surveys, too!

  40. 40
    Katalina

    I suppose at age 32, I, too, am a crusty old fart. I just didn’t answer that question.

  41. 41
    Christoph Burschka

    One sci-fi show? You’re going to make me pick between Summer Glau and David Tennant?! Oh curse you!

    … I’ll go with Doctor Who, but only because it has so many more seasons to enjoy.

  42. 42
    'Tis Himself

    Isn’t pokemon Japanesey in some way, like samurai or sushi? Or am I thinking about Godzilla?

  43. 43
    Annabelle

    Hey, you tried. Gender identity is one hell of a minefield to navigate, and I was happy to see that you made an effort to be inclusive.

  44. 44
    Cory Albrecht (@Bytor)

    Even worse – there’s no Stargate option! (Yes, I am cranky. I think I caught cold at the Reason Rally. My throat feels like sandpaper.)

  45. 45
    Cory Albrecht (@Bytor)

    Jen, may we engage in dumb speculation as to why you didn’t include a better variety of sci-fi options to chose from. Were you having a fight with Dawkins? :-)

  46. 46
    Fenix

    I wanted to personally thank you for including Contact in your favorite movie/tv question, because it is not just my favorite of those, it is my favorite movie of all time, and has been since I saw it at age 12 and said “yep, there is no god” to myself for the first time.
    All hail jodie foster

  47. 47
    echidna

    And a fizzy drink *might* include champagne. It’s very regional.

  48. 48
    Anne C. Hanna

    Glad you two sorted things out, Jen.

  49. 49
    Otranreg

    If only I were in my early 50s, I’d be able to be both truthful and a loyal minion to the Octopus Man.

    Since I’ve chosen to proritise the former, it’s just “Pharyngula” and “Firefly”.

  50. 50
    Quatguy

    One of my fave sci-fi movies is the often overlooked “AI”. Contact is great but I had to go with 2001. I too would have preferred a “what is a pokemon?” option. While I do technically know what they are (i.e. silly little Japanese fighting monsters in a ball from those blinky cartoons with not enough movement?), I do not think I could name a single one except pikachoo and would have preferred to express my relative ignorance instead of leaving that question blank. I am glad you like them Jen, more power to you, but I don’t really see the appeal myself. Probably because I am over the hill and was not exposed to them at an impressionable age.

    Glad to see you and PZ have come to an understanding. Communicating through blog or email is frought with opportunities for misunderstanding.

  51. 51
    mnb0

    Still can’t honestly fill your poll, so here I go.

    Male.
    46-50.
    White.
    Predominantly heterosexual
    Neither liberal, nor moderate, nor conservative, but a good old fashioned scary socialist, aka the bogeyman by certain right wing Americans.
    Higher vocational education (that’s what it’s called in The Netherlands and Suriname)
    I am from Suriname
    and not from the USA
    Atheist
    I found Blag Hag via Pharyngula
    I keep updated by visiting your blog via Mano Singham, who is my favourite and the first to read on Ftb; I visit your blog once or twice a day

    Academia: neutral
    Atheism: strongly like
    Evolution/Creationism: strongly like
    Feminism: like
    Politics: neutral
    Random: neutral
    Religion: strongly like
    Sex: like
    Skepticism: strongly like
    Slice of life: neutral

    Being out to family/non/family
    Reading books
    Commenting on blogs/fora
    Writing articles

    Good luck incorporating this – if you do.
    In the mean time I feel like you when you have to answer the question from what religion you are and the option “none” is left out. So I sincerely hope you’re not an emotionless robot indeed and show some empathy. Because yes, I feel discriminated by you.

  52. 52
    Jacob V

    C’mon Jen, you’re just way too nice. Especially when there’s still an opportunity to keep trashing PZ! (But seriously, I’m glad PZ wasn’t being anything more than thoughtless.)

  53. 53
    homeless2009

    I’m glad you reopened the census. I almost never comment, but I am glad I was able to participate.

  54. 54
    tonymoss

    You need to check out the following titles: Spaced, Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (BBC TV version), Red Dwarf. Firefly is amazing though but but but Star Wars….

  55. 55
    ah58

    I was sad that there Babylon 5 was not on your list. :( That show at least made SOME effort to make the science believable.

  56. 56
    ah58

    oops!
    remove accidental “there”

  57. 57
    Jacob

    The Sci-Fi Show list is frankly embarrassing for a skepticism blog. You have many shows that include “magic” or something quite like it. Hell, the moral of Battlestar was that God exists and is influencing our everyday lives.

    And then you leave off a well done show best entirely on Skepticism. Stargate SG-1. Sure, it’s science fiction and silly, but let’s look at it’s underlying premises.
    1. There are no gods, just Clarke’s Law
    2. All religion, including specific mentions of Christianity, Norse, Greek, Egyptian, Hinduism, Confucism and Native American tribal beliefs, are a form of control and brain washing (used by aliens, but hey, its sci fi)
    3. Science, from physics, to biology, to archaeology, is the savoir of humanity.
    4. Women can be smart scientists that kick ass. One of the leads is a female physicist considered the best in her field and a soldier.
    5. There is nothing in this universe that humanity is unable to understand through study and experimentation.

    Seriously, SG-1 is THE atheist/skeptic show. It was years ahead of it’s time.

  58. 58
    Cory Albrecht (@Bytor)

    This!

  59. 59
    August Pamplona

    Oh, the HHGTTG BBC television series was amazing. The 2005 movie sucked.

    I have only seen some episodes of Red Dwarf but I agree, from that, that it is a really good sci-fi comedy. It deserves my full viewing of the series at some future date, I think. I have never heard of the first two you mentioned.

  60. 60
    sceptinurse

    This was my thought as well. To me a delicious fizzy drink IS champagne.

  61. 61
    Martin, heading for geezerhood

    “Forbidden Planet” is “The Tempest” with the conspiracy bits removed.

  62. 62
    Quietmarc

    And no Fargate option, neither! It’s a gate! That goes far!

  63. 63
    treefrog

    “Robots need love too. They want to be loved by you….”
    ~ Dan Mangan’s “Robots”

    I was reminded of this song today.

  64. 64
    Janstince

    You mean there’s more than one?

    Golly gee, what’ll they think of next…

  65. 65
    Rutee Katreya

    I’m still sadface that you had to pick a Gen.1 starter. Smugsnake 4lyfe :<

    (I lurk)

    Also, is it weird that the question I most want to see the answer to on the silly ones is the Sorting Hat one? <.<;

  66. 66
    happyathiestmommy

    Drat, it’s closed again. :( I was too late!

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