Blag Hag 2011 Census Results Pt. 2

And now for the questions about atheism and blogging!

As always, click the images for bigger versions.Last year men used the terms “skeptic,” “freethinker,” and “anti-theist” more often than women. This year “anti-theist” is still used more, but “skeptic” and “freethinker” are not significantly different. However, “atheist” and “infidel” were used less by women now. There’s a general trend of women avoiding terms that tend to have negative associations.

I’m intrigued by the changes in term usage since last year. All of the labels except “freethinker” were selected by a smaller percentage of readers this year. “Atheist” was hit particularly hard, dropping from 82% to 42%. The next biggest change was for “agnostic,” dropping from 23% to a measly 3%. I think the most likely explanation is that I’m attracting a much broader readership, while I originally started out predominantly as an atheist blog.

Oh, and most people still hate the label “Bright.” Wah wah.

Favorite open responses:

  • Evil
  • Evil baby-eating atheist
  • Baby-eater (I’m seeing a trend)
  • Awesome
  • Badass
  • Cool
  • BAMF (Again, a trend…)
  • He Who Shall Not Be Named
  • Chaotic good
  • Bipedal furhead
  • Devoutly in the awe of the unknown
  • “Indifferent agnostic” – it’s not that I don’t know, it’s that I don’t really care
  • I’m not a pastafarian, but I do think they are sexy. Is that ok? (Yes)

I’m not sure what I was expecting to find here, but I was just curious. Unsurprisingly, people are more likely to do activism that requires the littlest amount of time and effort – being out, buying a book, commenting on a blog.

I was a little surprised that the only gender difference was in writing letters to the editor (anyone have an explanation for that?). I guess from personal experience I expected women to participate less. Of course, there are two potential problems here. One, this doesn’t look at the frequency of these events – maybe they showed up to a single event or wrote a single blog post. Two, we have a biased sample – these are women who are already reading at least one atheist blog (mine), not women in general.This one surprised me a bit. I thought everyone would keep updated about the blog using some sort of RSS reader, like Google Reader or Blogger Dashboard, mainly because that’s what I do. Apparently slightly more people manually check the blog through bookmarking or some other sort of link. I have 3,928 subscribers. Using this updating method data as an estimate, I probably have approximately 8,000 readers. Wow! Not to shabby for a 2 year old blog.

Twitter and Facebook are rarely used on their own, but rather in addition to another method. Though you can see a slight difference when seeing how much people comment:It seems that people who use Twitter and Facebook, either alone or in addition to bookmarks or RSS feeds, are more likely to comment. Maybe they use those things because they’re more socially interactive online in general?

But overall, a very small percentage of my readers make up the vast majority of the comments. Hello, all of you lurkers out there! Though an interesting trend is seen when you break it up by gender:Ladies! Why aren’t you commenting as much?! No wonder blogs can look so male dominated. Seriously though, why are women less likely to comment? Are we less inclined to speak up thanks to social conditioning? Is there something about the environment in the comments that make them seem unwelcoming? If you’re a lurker (lady or otherwise), please let me know. I’m generally curious, but I also want to make sure my blog is a place where you can feel comfortable.I guess a 5 point Likert scale wasn’t the best way to ask this question, since if you stick around to read Blag Hag, you probably like most of the topics. Oh well. I should check to see if non-US readers are the most apathetic about politics, and if everyone but graduate students are apathetic about my grad school posts, haha. Other than that, I didn’t get too much out of this question. Going to keep doin’ what I’ve been doing.

The only topic that differed between the sexes was Feminism:Women readers really like when I talk about feminism. Shocking, I know. Thankfully my male readers still generally like it! …Of course, I’ve probably scared off all the dudes who can’t stand it. Hm.
A couple interesting things on how people found my blog:

  • If you want readers, get Pharyngulated. PZ has the power. Though he seems to send mostly guys over. I’d be really interested to see the gender makeup of his readership – is it really that male biased? I wonder what my gender ratio would look like if you took out the Pharyngulites…
  • Boobquake attracted equal numbers of male and female readers. Take that, haters who say it’s only guys sticking around for my boobs!
  • More women seem to find their way here after being referred by friends (or according to some comments, family). Maybe this is their first step into the atheist community? Regardless, thanks for recommending my blog to friends!
  • Of the “Other blogs” specified, the most common mentioned were Dan Savage (25), Skepchick (10), Greta Christina (2), Daylight Atheism (2), and Boing Boing (2), JT Eberhard (2), and “feminist blogs” (2).

Other interesting ways people found my blog:

  • Webcomics – Something Positive (5), Girls with Slingshots (2), Wapsi Square (1)
  • The Bloggies (5)
  • Flyers for my speaking events (3)
  • Met at convention or group (9)
  • “Your landlord” (…This is kind of scary)
  • OkCupid (Nope, this is scarier, haha)
  • “Jesus made it come to me in a dream” (Oddly less scary)

I still haven’t even attempted to look at how location or past religious beliefs correlates with anything… If you have something you’d like to investigate, let me know. But before that, I’ll look at some of the comments you guys left in the free response, since even I can get sick of making graphs.

Like always, feel free to discuss in the comments.


  1. says

    Hi, Jen! I’m a lurker. Female. I tend not to comment because I read WAY too many blogs and I just don’t have the time or energy to comment. Just wanted to let you know that for one female, at least, there’s no gender politickin’ going on. I just don’t talk much IRL or online. Ha, I’m more of a voyeur. And I like to read your blog!

  2. LS says

    From my personal experience, I’m more likely to comment the fewer comments there are. For me, commenting is about participating in the discussion. It doesn’t take much to figure out that 99% of people don’t read beyond the first few comments. When I see you post about a new post on twitter, I am most often among the first people to be on the scene to leave a comment. That may explain the twitter trend you noted.

  3. says

    I’m not much of a lurker, but I don’t comment as often as I would because I feel like I shouldn’t unless I have something original or insightful to say, and often, by the time I get to reading the blog posts, either you or the other commenters have already thoroughly tackled all the issues or topics brought up.

  4. BunyipAndler says

    If I had to guess, I would say women comment less on this blog because they comment less in general when they have a public audience.In my (cognitively biased) experience, girls tend to speak up in class less often than males. Girls (stereotypically) would rather just ignore someone that’s harassing them than get in their face about it.Girls just seem shyer. *shrug*

  5. says

    I’d be keen to see something about location, if you can do it. Not just whether US politics are interesting to non-US readers, like you suggested, but also things like how likely they are to be out by country.And I can definitely attest to the fact that PZ has the power…the link he retweeted has seen about as many hits as the rest of my blog combined.

  6. Chelsea says

    Seconded! Just lazy. Plus I spend most of my time IRL being the only feminist of the conversation, it’s kind of nice to think about ideas without having to put myself out there.

  7. Jek says

    Hey, I too am a female lurker. Just wanted to say in relation to the commenting, the reason I don’t comment here 9except for one time this morning lol) is the same reason I don’t comment at Pharygula or Friendly Atheist, and that is the fact that while I find all the topics interesting, I don’t feel like I’m educated enough about them to comment. Particularly the sciencey stuff, I haven’t done any science since year 10 which was 6 years ago, so I usually don’t even understand what I’m reading let alone have anything productive to say. Same goes for the politics stuff, i live in Australia and blogs I read are really the only info I get about American politics. (Just wanna say, America looks whacko from the outside). I love to read about it, because its interesting to see what is important to other countries, but as I don’t know what its like to be affected by it, i can’t really comment.However, I am starting to feel more knowledgable about feminism and religion, so hopefully I will pluck up the courage to add my two cents worth soon! Lol.Mostly, I just don’t want to shoot my mouth off, be called out as a troll and relagated to the dungeon. I have a tonne of respect for you, Hemant and PZ (being that you guys are the blogs I check daily) and it would be mortifying to have you guys think of me as an idiot. Thats nice and egotistical of me hey? Lol.

  8. says

    “I was a little surprised that the only gender difference was in writing letters to the editor (anyone have an explanation for that?). I guess from personal experience I expected women to participate less. ” Looking at your population getting maler as it gets older, I’d be interested to see the age of the people who are writing letters to the editor.

  9. Vanessa says

    “Boobquake attracted equal numbers of male and female readers. Take that, haters who say it’s only guys sticking around for my boobsThat’s right! Both guys and girls can appreciate your boobs ;-D

  10. says

    Women are more likely to have much larger social networks and blog reading habits, this could actually be why on a larger scale women don’t comment as much as men. Because they’re doing their talking on Social Networks.

  11. says

    I am generally a lurker. Normally I don’t post a comment because I don’t have time to read the large number of comments that spring up so quickly on the blog posts, nor am I going to have time to go back in the future to see if anyone bothered to respond to my comments.

  12. isitisabel says

    *wave* Hi Jen, I’m a lurker! I do comment on your blog and others that I read very occasionally. I check blogs about once or twice a day, so by the time I read posts put up in the morning, I often feel that any response I had to the post has already been articulated in the comments. If I react particularly strongly to a post or feel that I can add a new perspective, I will comment, but I don’t comment just to agree. However, that’s just my personal preference, and I never feel silenced or unwelcome in your threads.

  13. says

    Normally I’m a lurker, but if there’s one thing that can pull me out of the shadows is statistics and graphs! I was wondering if you took a look at the correlation between different labels people chose. I, for one, prefer to refer to myself as an agnostic atheist as I’m pretty sure there is no god, but would say I know so. However, I’m also a skeptic, so I was wondering how those types of labels are correlated.

  14. Ihateaphids says

    my guess about the grad school score is that people not in grad school don’t care, and those that have been through it find it a little annoying to hear you talk about your time in the lab…like duh yeah you;re in the lab, that’s normal, noone cares how much work you have to do! I don’t mind as much as strongly dislike, but i do tend towards…

  15. Lindsie says

    I would say I’m seconding this, but that’s already been said. Another female lurker here, and I too, just don’t have the time to comment/follow-up on comments. I rarely even look at comments… I do enjoy reading here though and always feel as though I’d be welcomed in the commenting area.

  16. says

    Hi! I’m a woman who reads but never comments. I think that’s because I don’t find myself disagreeing with you too often; I generally don’t think I could add anything you haven’t already put out there yourself.I don’t feel uncomfortable here, and I’m definitely not one to keep silent due to feminine social conditioning. Maybe men are just slightly more likely to disagree with you?As for stuff I’d like to see…maybe whether sexuality was associated with anything? Enjoyment of certain topics? Self-descriptors?

  17. says

    My name is Kayla and I’ve been a lurker for about 6 months (this is Lurkers Anonymous, right?). I too am an atheist, skeptical, feminist and I have been for as long as I can remember. Well, skeptical is a more recent addition but only because I didn’t realize it was an available label (thank you Skeptics Guide to the Universe). I never commented before because 90% of the time I read on Google Reader while using my phone and it’s difficult to comment from there. I also usually just have enough time to read through all the blog posts and not enough to read comments too. I feel like it’s important to read the comments before I add my own two cents. I’ve never been afraid to post though. It’s mostly time and the device I use to read.BTW, I love your grad school posts, but I’m not a grad student! I want to be a grad student, but I have yet to figure out what I want my masters in which makes grad school pointless. I like them because it gives me a (hopefully) realistic expectation for grad school whenever I find my way there.Thank you for blogging. Yours is my favorite and I always get excited when I see something new on my reader. Also, you make me really want to blog. I’ve been going back and forth about it for about 3 months now.

  18. says

    I’d just like it on the record that while I’m a guy and found you via Boobquake, it wasn’t your boobs that attracted me. I thought the idea was smart and funny, and it’s smart and interesting writing that keeps me coming back. And as a Canadian, I’m very interested in US politics. I have to be–the slave needs to know what the master is thinking.Atheism isn’t even that big an interest of mine. If anything, my kids consider me a big ol’ pagan, and my major concern is food security issues. So I find all your posts interesting–I’d better, or I’ll stop hanging around. (I don’t see that happening anytime soon 8-) )

  19. Ariana says

    Hi Jen. I’m a female and a lurker too and the reason behind this bad habit of mine is that there is a reasonably long list of blogs that I like to read every night and being a grad student if I want to comment on every one of them I have to seriously consider dropping out! So I usually don’t leave a comment unless I think it’s absolutely necessary to voice my thoughts for better good of mankind or science! The other reason could be that I’m a very opinionated person and I tend to get myself into a lot of heated discussions (always with other commenters) that tend to go on for days… so I kinda trained myself to keep my opinion to myself because unlike in real life, in cyberworld, the number of people that I could potentially argue with is astronomical!And now that I’m commenting, I should thank you for your awesome blog… I really enjoy lurking here and keep up the great work.

  20. Oz Tilson says

    as has been said above over and over…..I don’t want to comment unless I have something worthwhile to contribute to the conversation. If I get to the comments then I just “like” someone who has said something that I was thinking.I love how so many of us women don’t comment for this reason-but we are all commenting on this post- no matter how repetitive!

  21. says

    Hello! Another quiet female here — while I’ve left a comment or two on this blog in the past, 99% of the time I’m just a lurker. Like others have already expressed, I tend to only leave a comment if (a) I feel I have something to add to the discussion, and (b) it hasn’t already been said. But this is true on all the blogs I frequent, and there’s nothing about Blag Hag that makes me feel particularly unwelcome or whatnot.I do find it interesting that so many people have said basically this same thing, though… I wonder how common this attitude is among females vs. males across the wider internets.

  22. Clara says

    I lurk. I think I’ve commented like, once before? I’m sure your readers are (predominantly) a lovely bunch, but over the years I’ve learned to be distrustful of the internet. Much of it seems to be comprised of dicks. Also, I get much more emotional about getting into arguments with stupid strangers than any of my male friends seem to. It just isn’t really worth the stress.Could be social conditioning. Could be that, as a woman, being confrontational is hard for me. And then there’s the fact that when you piss of jerks on the internet, their comments can get rapey, and I get enough of that yelled at me from cars.

  23. says

    Female lurker. I comment on blogs when I have something to say that I think actually adds value to the conversation (at least when we’re talking about blogs that get hundreds of comments — in that kind of crowd if you don’t have something useful to add, you’re just taking up space). I’m generally a fan of what you write, though.

  24. Roki_B says

    There is something to be said for being able to stay emotionally detached in internet arguments, including those that leak vitriol from every orifice. In my biased sample I tend to see hateful remarks, ad hominems and whatnot being utilized in order to avert a question that the person is incapable or unwilling to answer in an intellectually honest manner. Also some people get a kick out of being an asshole on the internet. I am one of those people, but I prefer to do it in a smug ‘watch as your worldview is eviscerated before your very eyes’ rather than a ‘ur dum lol’ method. Though to be perfectly frank I first practiced ‘u mad bro?’ school of trolling and still do when its a dumb video game rather than a debate about the nature of reality.u mad.

  25. Maarja says

    About the same here (female lurker). Another reason for me, maybe, is that I’m from Europe and a lot of the posts I simply cannot relate to, my reaction is more like “wow, America is weird”… :)By the way, about this Pharyngulating – actually, I found Pharyngula through your blog, so you have the power as well!

  26. says

    Same here, Jen — I’m one of these folks who only comments when they disagree, that’s why you don’t see me much :-) Commenting to agree on something requires an effort for me (but I’m working on it). On the other hand, when I do comment to disagree with you, it’s also difficult — because then I know that most of your readers will disagree with me (vast majority of your audience agrees with you the vast majority of the time — it’s a feature of blogs in general, not just yours). In short: commenting requires time and effort, so I mostly just “Like” some comments and move on. Btw, if you had the questions “How many blogs do you follow? On how many do you usually comment? How many comments per day/week do you usually post?” I think it would help investigate the male/female differences on this issue.Non-US readership: I live in Israel, but I’m very interested in what you have to say about American politics — I have friends and relatives in the US, and it’s interesting to see another perspective. You all keep reminding me why I’m moving to Canada soon and not to the US :-)

  27. says

    I don’t comment because I don’t like your comments application much :PWell, mostly though because I feel I should read the previous comments before I add mine, but there’s usually too much of them or someone already said what I thought.Or all that I could say is nod and agree which is not much of a discussion.

  28. Alt 3 says

    I would comment more often but I usually read your blog on my phone and I can’t even see the comments on my phone. I don’t think I’ve ever been here on my desktop, but I used to stop in from time to time when my laptop was my only computer. The dozen or so comments I’ve left have all been from my iPad, so they’re fairly sparse, due to my undying hatred for my iPad. Also, next year you should include a question about what sort of device people are using to access your site. It might help guide you in content creation.

  29. says

    female lurker here, someone else mentioned it already but I also tend not to comment as I use google reader on my phone during my journey into uni in the morning, and it requires extra clicks to get to comments, and scrolling… Plus being in the UK means I’m generally hours late to a post, and so if I do click through the comments are loooong and I am lazy.

  30. R. says

    Man, look at agnosticism: way to go on the equality of the genders front whomever selected that option. It’s practically a sign from the glorious and omnipresent Coincidence. :)

  31. says

    Why don’t you add Boobquakist as a religion in your next survey? I believe a lot of atheists, agnostics, humanists, etc. will want to convert to Boobquakism and enjoy a fun and exciting religious life of Boobquakism. Please do it. I’d like to know if there is a market for Boobquakism.

  32. Syrup says

    Female lurker here, I guess I don’t really comment to often for a number of reasons, most of which other people have already mentioned. I don’t really want to say something stupid and look like a numpty, but I’m also chronically shy (hooray for social anxiety!). I think the few times I have commented it’s been on pokémon based topics, because that’s something I could happily talk about all day and never shut up.

  33. says

    Another lady here—yeah, if I don’t feel like I have something to contribute then I won’t comment. But that’s also how I felt in the classroom in my college days and is the main reason I didn’t speak up there either. I don’t think the gender of the class would have changed that any, but I don’t think I’ve been in an all female class. Well…I did take a women’s studies course, but there were still a few guys in there :)

  34. says

    I would be a counter-example to your suggestion, because I’ve always been very vocal in class, but I rarely comment on blogs that have more than 20 comments already. (I often comment on blogs that have fewer… I just never get to Jen’s before that point.)I do this for the same reasons all the other women have mentioned: I don’t expect people will read more than the first dozen or so comments, I don’t have time to read through them myself, and someone else has probably said what I would have wanted to say. If it’s an issue near and dear to my heart and I have a point the original post didn’t make, I’ll take the time to read through the comments and post if no one has made my point yet. But that’s a rare occurrence.I also much prefer arguing in person to arguing on the internet, so I’m much more likely to make or respond to provocative arguments in a classroom discussion than in blog comments.

  35. Drakk says

    Hey Jen, I’m not sure if you’ve analyzed the “I used to be [insert] religion before becoming atheist” part yet, or if you’ve avoided it altogether because the result is most likely dominated by always-atheist and christians.If you have, though…can you check if there’s a correlation between ex-muslims and those who identify as “Infidel”? I’m one of those myself, and my reasoning is similar to those shirts you can buy with “kafir” (Arabic for infidel) on them. It may be a derogatory term when they use it, but I’m proud not to be included in their craziness.

  36. Czaine Sun says

    Yet another female lurker chiming in. As others have stated before me, I also don’t want to add my two cents to a discussion unless I feel that I have something constructive to add. I think for me this has less to do with an intrinsic low opinion of myself, and more to do with the fact that I am new to the topic of feminism and even newer to the topic of atheism as ideas than can be argued. I am also pretty damn computer illiterate, so maintaining a sufficient online presence to check and recheck comments as would be required for participation in a debate is difficult. I prefer to read and learn, for now.

  37. Gelfling says

    Another female lurker chiming in. As I have nothing original to add, maybe I’ll talk to you again in another 6 months or so. Keep up the good work, Jen!

  38. Lurker in the Light says

    Lurker as well, commenting for the first time.However, you should be happy to know that it was YOU who actually got me started on Pharyngula, and not the other way around as your survey had shown most to be for males. Actually, this is the first atheist blog I’d ever gone to. And you didn’t scare me away from it. Consider yourself a success. And no, I’m not here for teh bewbies as some may have suggested of your male readers. I don’t roll that way.

  39. says

    I’m one of the people who comment only rarely. I’ll try to contribute more often. A lot of the time, I just can’t think of what to write or someone else has already written something similar to what I would write.I wish I’d thought of the “He Who Must Not Be Named” comment. That is awesome.Just thought I’d mention that I was one of the women who included “infidel” and “heathen” (in addition to “secularist” and “atheist”) in my answers, despite the negative connotation, because I left Islam, so I thought infidel was appropriate.

  40. Gus Snarp says

    I don’t even remember how I answered a lot of these, but there were two that stuck out. First, I don’t remember what I finally answered, but I didn’t know how to respond to how I found the blog, because it was from Pharyngula, but it was a Boobquake related post, so it was really both. Second was the activism question. I said I was not “out” to family or friends (I think, man my memory is shot). But I don’t see atheism as being like homosexuality. It’s not something I tend to discuss with casual friends, and definitely not with family. But I’m pretty sure my parents at least know that I’m not the Southern Baptist I used to be. And my friends have probably figured it out. So I’m not really sure if I’m “out” or not. Though my Facebook “religion” is “secular”, mainly to go with my Facebook political affiliation of “progressive”, making me one of Glenn Beck’s dreaded “Secular Progressives”. Odd that both Beck and the Scientologists are worried about people called “SP”s.

  41. Sunnybook3 says

    Jen– Your blog is one of the few that I do comment on periodically. There aren’t so many commenters that I feel lost in the shuffle and there aren’t so few that it seems pointless to comment. Also, the other people who do comment have intelligent points of view and are welcoming to new commenters.

  42. Suzanne says

    I rarely comment, and I think it’s because usually I can see that someone else in the comments has already expressed my opinion on the subject (or there are a zillion comments already and I just assume someone has). Plus I’m lazy :p But I’ll strive to comment more now!

  43. says

    ^^^ What she said, right there. I’m mouthy and verbose, but at the same time I don’t want to take up anyone’s time or space if I don’t have anything new or insightful to bring to the discussion. Nobody wants to go to a potluck where the only dish is Swedish meatballs, after all. That being said, I -do- always feel welcomed whenever I get around to making a comment!

  44. Rollingforest says

    Jen, maybe you can check to see whether the past religious group that a person was part of affects how likely they were to participate in various Atheist activities. Maybe some types of religion are driving people to be Atheists more than other types. Perhaps the more mild religions produce lukewarm Atheists whereas the Fundamentalist religions create hard core Atheism in those who deconvert. It would be interesting to find out if possible.

  45. ArchaeoEm says

    As yet another female lurker never comments because I see no point in reiterating what’s already been said, I would like to add that in my experience, guys generally don’t care if they are echoing other commenters. I wouldn’t say it’s a brain to mouth filter issue… I honestly think it’s an ego thing- seeing their words on the interwebs, or being more vocal is, in general, a way to stroke it (so to speak), regardless of whether it is pointless repetition.

  46. ArchaeoEm says

    Annnd of course my first comment ever here has a typo. *sigh*. Weirdly, fear of typos is another thing that keeps me from commenting. Somehow proofreading only works for me when writing professionally.

  47. linguistenator says

    I’m a (female) lurker, and I’ve always wanted to muster up the courage to comment. I often refrain because people can be massive jerks in comment sections on the internet, and sometimes I just do not feel like diffusing a fight. That’s a pretty dumb reason not to comment, though, so I’d like to become less of a lurker and more of a participant in the discussions :)

  48. Hemant says

    It’s not a 1-1 correlation here, but I think it’s important to point out that being published in a book (which I know meant a lot to you) had no significant impact on your readership here. Thoughts?

  49. Jeff Sherry says

    PZ may have the power, but what drew me to your blog was your reportage of the Cretin Museum and you being a hoosier atheist.

  50. says

    Yeah, that was a little disappointing. I guess the book wasn’t *super* popular, and I was only one chapter out of 42… A book I wrote on my own that got media coverage (like yours) would likely attract more readers.

  51. Cygnets says

    As a female lurker, I’ve never commented before for one simple reason: My father would punish me if I demonstrated having an opinion (whether by speaking, writing, rolling my eyes, or breathing too loudly). Maybe someday I’ll be brave enough to try commenting again…

  52. says

    Hi, I am a female lurker; often, I don’t comment because if I read the post late (which is often) and other commenters have already articulated my opinions to a higher level of depth/clarity that I feel could produce, or if agree with everything you say, I feel there is not much else I can add to the conversation, really. However, I’ve only in the past two months had my attention drawn to your blog and began following, so my non-commenting only overlaps a small proportion of your time blogging; I will make more of a conscious effort to participate in future. Let me just use this opportunity to tell you I very much enjoy your writing.

  53. Allecher says

    I’m such a lurker and RSS reader that until just now I did not realize that this blog has “like” buttons. Doh!

  54. JulietEcho says

    I very rarely comment, and I’m a woman. Part of the reason I so rarely comment (I comment at about the same frequency here as I do on Savage Love/blog and Pharyngula) is because Friendly Atheist takes up a lot of my time. I was the forum admin and a moderator on the forum there until I recently stepped down in preparation for law school.I also don’t really like comment threads, because they can become much more hostile than forum threads, and I’m not likely to come back and see if anyone responded to my comment. I leave comments as just that – comments. I don’t enjoy it when people respond to my contribution by insulting me or trying to draw me into a debate. I’d rather use other venues for debate.Incidentally, reading comment threads at all, almost everywhere on the Internet, ends up making me want to join the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. I almost always regret wading through the crushing stupidity and unnecessary cruelty that plague even the most reasonable comment threads.

  55. says

    THIS. Also, even though you’re a lurker, I recognize your name from Slog, Juliet. :)I also mostly lurk. Sometimes I read the blog a day later, and it seems pointless. Sometimes I just don’t have anything to say. Also, I’m better at internet communication after I’ve met someone irl.

  56. says

    It’s kind of already covered by Pastafarianism. I don’t click that button because their heaven has strippers (and I’m a lesbian…so I like boobies). Could we have a fake religion that isn’t quite so sexist? I’d be satisfied with equal objectification. Everyone likes to be objectified by the right person, after all.

  57. skinman says

    I’m a middle-aged male lurker (that sounds bad, doesn’t it?) that came here from Pharyngula, where I also lurk. Count me in the group that doesn’t comment because anything I have to say has usually already been said. But I’m also a parent of 3 that works full-time with a wife that works part-time and honestly, lately I’m just too damn tired to even turn on my PC. Seriously, it’s all the way down in the basement. And I couldn’t care less about Facebook and Twitter. And clearly I’ve gotten more crotchety as I’ve gotten older.Anyway, I do enjoy your blog. With or without pictures.

  58. loreleion says

    I always assumed they had guy strippers, too. Still, strippers of either gender have never really interested me, and I hate beer, so their heaven sounds kinda boring.

  59. Celfi says

    I seem to be in the unusual categories for most of these, interesting. Also, I found you from both Something Positive and Girls With Slingshots (they updated about Boobquake on the same day), but put Boobquake in since the comics were Boobquake related. It would be interesting to see what part of Boobquake coverage brought readers to Blag Hag.Additionally, I’m really curious about how many of your readers never had to leave religion because they came from non-religious families? I consider myself an agnostic for various reasons, but I was raised in a family with an atheist father and a religiously-apathetic mother. So the question is, how many people were just never really introduced to religion?

  60. Sunnybook3 says

    Me too! And Greta Christina, FurryGirl, and Friendly Atheist, too…. BlagHag: feeding my Google Reader addiction since 2010.

  61. says

    I’m another one — I just about never comment anywhere unless I have something to say that nobody’s addressing (and I feel that it’s important that someone should). I wonder how many men feel this way?

  62. Edivimo says

    Me too, I try to add something good to conversation, but is quite hard. And I’m a native spanish speaker, my english writing skills are not as good like I wanted.

  63. skinman says

    My mother is catholic, my father lutheran. I had to go to my mother’s church until I was 18. I can’t say I understood or cared about catholic dogma growing up. Leaving wasn’t a problem. It was a forgone conclusion. So I’ve never felt the seperation anxiety that some feel when they have gone the way of the atheist.I have to say that I understand religion much better now as an atheist. I actually find it much more interesting…just not believable.

  64. says

    I hear ya. In reality, I find strip shows creepy. But if I say that too loudly, I sound like one of those sex-negative feminists, when really I’m just a privacy-loving midwesterner. :)

  65. ArchaeoEm says

    I’d be interested in hearing about the number of people with non-religious backgrounds as well. I was raised atheist and have now found that as a result I often have little in common with the people at the atheist groups I attend and, at the moment, organize and run. Many people want to talk about their epiphanies or the trouble they’ve had coming out to their families, which I find interesting, if difficult to relate to. Additionally, I went to a very liberal college, and have my Master’s (and current job) in archaeology, which is predominantly atheist or apathetic, so I rarely even have trouble in the workplace (and I live in West-by-god-Virginia!). I’d be interested to know if there is anybody out there with similar experiences.

  66. says

    One thing I was curious about was your choice of colours for the male/female columns in your charts. I was half-way through the post when I realized they were the stereotypical blue/pink (well, more of a salmon colour on my monitor). As a feminist I would have thought using the typical “gender colours” would be something worth avoiding. I’m not criticizing or screaming “U R A BAD FEMINIST!”, I’m just generally curious about the social conditioning that goes in to unconscious choices like that. Obviously, the fact that I went through the post without noticing shows that the conditioning is strong is me as well.Irregardless of colour, keep up the fantastic work! ;-)

  67. says

    Haha, I actually did realize this, but I kept it for two reasons:1. It may be wrong that we’re conditioned this way, but since we already are, it makes reading the graphs easier.2. I wanted to see how long it would take for someone to point it out. You win!

  68. says

    Longtime lurker, infrequent commenter. I love the atheist and feminist posts. I’m less excited about the science-y posts but most of them are interesting. Keep up the great work!

  69. Marylynne7 says

    Me too. 45 year old mom of 2 teens, married 20 years – Jen, we don’t seem to have a lot in common but I love your perspective and humor, and I check your blog daily. I love the feminist writing because I don’t get that anywhere else. As the others said, I usually comment if I feel I have something to add. Sometimes I type out a comment, read it over to find “Blah blah me me” – and just delete it rather than post it and take up space.

  70. says

    I don’t know how many, but I do. I have similar problems with not enough time to read comments on blogs, getting to them late enough that everything seems to be said already, and so on.

  71. Triploblast says

    Like many other people, I don’t comment because I’m intimidated. I don’t think it’s anti-feminist to say that men are generally more aggressive than women – it’s a fact, and one that probably explains in large part the lack of women commenting. The only reason I ever want to comment is if my opinion differs from the majority (after all, what’s the point of commenting if your opinion has already been expressed?), but that’s a no-no unless you want to be flamed and called a troll. This blog isn’t as intimidating as PZs though – I expressed an opinion there once that differed from that of some other commenters, and actually cried for a good part of the night after reading some of their responses. I guess I’m just not thick-skinned enough for this, haha.

  72. Triploblast says

    Oh and I need to add that for me it has nothing to do with being taught to not have an opinion like a good little woman. I grew up in a non-religious household and was always taught that I could do anything boys could do and that men and women were equal. In fact, one of the reasons I like your blog so much is that it’s such a revelation – I never even realised that people in the developed world still treated women unfairly until just a couple of years ago (I’m 21, to put things in perspective), and your blog is serving as my education on feminism. So thank you. :)

  73. says

    NB: I haven’t read the comments yet. Apologies. >I was a little surprised that the only gender difference was in writing letters to the editor (anyone have an explanation for that?).>Seriously though, why are women less likely to comment? Are we less inclined to speak up thanks to social conditioning?That was my guess for the question. It’s “ok” for me to tell you what I think. I’m the Man, after all. I’m in charge so you need to know what I think.I hope I see a change in that trend before I die. :-)

  74. JulietEcho says

    Yeah, I don’t have the time, generally, to follow up on comment threads, (like I’m doing now!) so when I do leave a comment, it’s generally because I feel like I have something pertinent to add to a conversation that other posters might not mention. On Slog, for example, I almost never post, but if a letter involves a poly relationship that closely resembles mine or if it’s about a specific aspect of BDSM I’m familiar with, I’ll chime in.Slog *is* one of the very few exceptions where I actually enjoy reading the comments. Some very witty posters hang out there.

  75. says

    Woman who lurks, here. I don’t comment on a lot of things unless I really feel like I have something to contribute/complain about hahaha. I missed out on the census, too. Darn.

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