Take the Blag Hag 2012 Census!

It’s my favorite time of the year – the Blag Hag Census! It’s a wonderful time where all of you get to fill out a survey, and then I am overwhelmed with glee as I crunch data, look for correlations, and make pretty graphs. Seriously, last year I had way too much fun writing a Python script to parse the data. The survey only takes a couple of minutes to fill out, and it helps me learn about the demographics and interests of my readers so I can make the blog more enjoyable for everyone. And, you know, I’m just curious about who all of you are.  I’m really curious to see if there are any trends in the answers, since this is the third census I’ve given. This time I’ve also included some fun optional bonus questions at the end for shits and giggles.

Fill out the Blag Hag 2012 Census here! – EDIT AGAIN: I was obviously seeing red last night because I thought PZ purposefully tried to ruin my data, which ended up not being the case. 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. Let’s just leave it at that and move on with our lives instead of overanalyzing apologies and motives and bullshit. The survey is open again.

And here’s the standard disclaimer – I’m not selling any of this information or using it to stalk you. At most you’ll be a datapoint in a pretty graph, or a comment you leave will be posted anonymously.

Please take it ASAP. I’ll shut down the census once the response rate drops off, which will probably be around Thursday. So don’t delay, take it now!


  1. Setar, too lazy to log in on his blackberry says

    If last year was any indication, this census should be waaaay better than the silly crap foisted on Canada last year by Stephen Harper.

  2. Utakata says

    Under, “What is your favorite space themed movie/tv show?”, there was no Trigun option. :(

  3. says

    And here I was hoping to be “stalked” by someone other than the Republican National Committee, who can’t accept that some military officers are not Republicans (or Republican-leaning)…

  4. Kels says

    The “education” part has me stumped, because there are no options for non-university post-secondary education (although I’ve got some of that too). My best success has been at what Canadians call “college”, but I guess is “trade/vocational school” in some places. I suppose that’s not considered real education the way university is.

  5. Kels says

    Oh, regarding the carbonated beverage thing, I have it on good authority that in Quebec it’s “le Pepsi”.

  6. says

    Problems with your survey:

    “If you’re from the US, what region are you currently living in? *
    If you’re temporarily traveling abroad, where are you originally from? From the US Census Bureau.”

    I’m from the US and permanently live abroad. I’ll answer this based on where I last lived in the USA (15 years ago), but I live in western Europe.

  7. Kaotik4266 says

    I strongly object to the lack of a correct option for the carbonated beverage question. It clearly should be “soft drink”! :P

  8. Brownian says

    Le awesome.

    Funny thing, that: ’round these parts (rough ‘n’ tumble prairie Canada), it’s “pop”. However, a friend of mine likes to do voices, and back in our high school days he and I would converse completely in accents, often taken from characters in Looney Tunes or Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Somewhere along the way, we took to calling it ‘Sodey-pop’, which we relaxed into ‘soda’, and I’ve called it that ever since.

  9. Drakk says

    Re: Carbonated beverage names, where is the option for “Whatever it’s called on the can/bottle”?

  10. Ryan says

    I didn’t understand the Pokemon or Hogwarts questions so I just guessed. Hopefully that doesn’t render the entire census useless.

  11. StevoR says

    What is the correct term for a delicious carbonated beverage?

    Soft drink.

    That’s what I’ve always termed thast “genre’ of beverage and thought it was pretty universal not just Aussie-speak.

    As for the fave TV /movie SF, ohh such a tough question -Love almost all of them – and what no Babylon 5!?

    Wish we could have picked more than one there. Eventually opted for Star Wars but could equally have put Firefly ?Serenity or Dr Who and really, my alltime fave SF TV out of all of them is Babylon5 which wasn’t listed, so, yeah, not the best question’n’answer set.

  12. StevoR says

    Knew the Hogwarts houses one, didn’t know any of the Pokemon. never got into that one myself. (No issues with those who *do* enjoy it, mind you, just not my thing.)

  13. says


    I’ve graduated College with a certification in Systems Analysis and Design yet the highest rank of education I could put was High School.

    On a less serious note, I’m miffed I couldn’t pick Star Trek, Contact, AND 2001 A Space Odyssey (the Blu-Ray for 2001 is absolutely stunning); then again I have seen Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn at least 70 times. lol

  14. Stephica says

    I want so badly to be Ravenclaw, but I’m bumbling and inept yet sweet, so probably Hufflepuff :(

  15. sithrazer says

    Just to make sure my filling out of the census was 100% truthful, here is one comment to fulfill the ‘rarely’ instead of ‘lurker’ on comment frequency.

  16. Kels says

    I grew up watching Space: 1999, and still have a soft spot for it (particularly the first season). Not there. Nor Thunderbirds. Nor The Prisoner. Nor about a million other things, I guess. Ah well, you gotta choose something close enough.

  17. Kels says

    It was “pop” back east in Nova Scotia, and it’s “pop” in O-Town, so I’d say that’s official as it gets.

  18. Super Dan Dan says

    My associates all call soda ‘a large farva’. Apparently Super Troopers is still relevant.

  19. Tony says

    StevoR @14:
    Soft drink.

    That’s what I’ve always termed thast “genre’ of beverage and thought it was pretty universal not just Aussie-speak.

    I hate to break it to you, but it’s not universal. Here in the Bible Belt, I’ve heard people refer to all sodas as Coke, or Pepsi, or Cola. It’s as if people think referring to Cola is all inclusive (y’know because Sprite, Mello Yellow and Strawberry Crush are all the same kind of soft drink). I’m with you though. I say ‘soda’ or ‘soft drink’. Though perhaps ‘soft drink’ is a misnomer. Water (if it were not going to be called water) could be a ‘soft drink’. Soda’s are so full of sugar and empty calories, they should be ‘hard drinks’.

    Do you want only your regular commenters to take the census? I only occasionally pop into here, so I wouldn’t want to skew things.

  20. grumpyoldfart says

    I couldn’t answer some of the optional questions and my submission was refused. Waste of time that was!

  21. stevevirnala says

    What the… No option for Farscape? I guess it’s ok -took too long to decide anyways. Great – now I’ve made a comment!

  22. Annabelle says

    Erm, not to spoil everyone’s fun, but you should rework the gender question. If you want to ask people if they are cis- or transgendered, make it a separate question. I may be trans, but my gender is female. Full stop. No modifiers or qualifications.

  23. IslandBrewer says

    Under education, there’s no option for multiple advanced degrees (eg. PhD and MD, or PhD and JD). You’d have to pick one (as if one might be higher than another).

    I know, “cry me a river.”

  24. says

    Oh wow, Space 1999. Does that show ever hold a soft spot in my heart. Being born in ’73 I remember fondly watching that show as a kid, used to make Eagles out of used toilet tissue rolls (gluing three into a triangle made for excellent Viper models too!) and an elaborate moon base out little bits of wooden blocks my dad made for me from the leftovers of all the cabinets he used to build at work.

    Lots of great TV when I was kid, though some of it is downright cheese when watching it now (try watching old episodes of Knight Rider [my dream car is still a black 1982 Trans Am] without laughing your ass off from the poor acting!).

  25. gworroll says

    For future censuses, maybe try to get some more granularity to the race/ethnicity section? While the larger categories do have demographic usefulness, the more specific data might be useful and definitely seems like it would be interesting.

  26. Philip Legge says

    Yes. In reverse order: given that I normally access FtB by relying that it’s in my browser’s recent history of URLs as a frequently accessed link, I decided “Bookmark” was the closest matching choice. And, I’ll add another Aussie vote for “soft drink”, though with the options given I went for “pop”, as there’s a wonderful Tom Baker Doctor Who where he repeatedly asks an android barman for ginger pop.

    The census is awesome for having more than binary options available for gender, but at the same time trans fail-ey for using terms that do not intersect with gender identity in equivalent ways (as Annabelle points out below). While being able to select as many options is needed is good, OTOH if certain trans identities have been left out (e.g. where was bi-gender/androgyne?), then an Other box is sorely needed. Note to Jen: this can be improved on the next time you think of doing the survey.

  27. gworroll says

    I was lucky on that one, easiest question apart from my age. Doctor Who has been my favorite science fiction for literally as long as I can remember. Early 80s at the earliest, though my dad had been watching it for a while by then so there’s a good chance I started watching before I could even crawl.

  28. gworroll says

    There’s a comment frequency question, which includes “never”, so I think as long as you read, the answers are welcome.

  29. Philip Legge says

    Yes! My exact response, except for the spelling of “Waaaaaaaaaaaaah”

    In my case, I felt it was dreadful for me to be obliged to favour my 35-year Doctor Who fandom over a mere 28-year love for 2001: A Space Odyssey and a 25-year affair with Contact. Perfectly horrible in fact!

  30. Philip Legge says

    Yes Annabelle, the intersection of gender with transgender identities was neither complete nor explained by the question itself, and if Jen wanted advice on framing this part for completeness she could easily have posted a question over at Natalie Reed’s blog a few days ago (the Sunday posts tend to function as an open thread).

    As a separate concern, intersex people were omitted entirely as an identifiable group, by being expected to tick an assigned gender box in probably the exact same way that they were medically and socially coerced at birth.

    Thus there is definite room for improvement, but I think it’s probably too late to be amended now as many people will have already submitted responses. :-(

  31. says

    I asked Natalie and copy and pasted her suggested wording for the question, that she said would encompass everyone. So, I tried…

  32. Azkyroth says

    A question whose options are not logically exhaustive and has no “other please specify” option should not be “required.”

  33. Azkyroth says

    Isn’t it wonderful how people assume that no fucking attempt was made at all, even via the painfully obvious routes they point out, when the results aren’t satisfactory?

  34. Philip Legge says

    Hi Azkyroth,

    I pointed out that asking a question a cross-section of trans people (the trans brain trust over at Natalie’s blog) might have picked up hurtful omission of identities, such as intersex people. That one trans person, Natalie herself, was in fact consulted doesn’t alter the point, that some trans identities and intersex people are erased by the phrasing of the question.

  35. Eamonn says

    You need another option(s) for the “carbonated beverage” question.
    Here in Ireland a generic term for “carbonated beverage” is …..
    a fizzy drink or sometimes a mineral.

  36. says

    The question regards gender identification, not sex. Intersexuality is an issue of sex. Perhaps it would better to have had it been included, but every intersex person I’ve ever known has nonetheless had a gender identity that could be articulated through one or more of the options above.

    Trans IS a qualifier of gender. I’m sorry, but that’s someone we have to live with. I have the feeling that if Jen had structured this as two separate questions (something I also suggested), you would have been complaining about that too. And if she’d left trans out entirely, you’d DEFINITELY have been complaining. Arguing for trans as a descriptive adjective regarding gender is EXACTLY what we’ve working towards, and EXACTLY what the question being phrased as “check all that apply” accomplishes.

    Yeesh. I sympathize with people who felt excluded by the absence of intersex, but I think getting angry about how she accommodates transgenderism is just ridiculous. Especially people making the assumption that she didn’t try, or didn’t consult anyone.

  37. Philip Legge says

    That would be a clear invasion of privacy, seeing that there were ample “Please write something personal here” text boxes in the survey.

  38. says

    Also, the presence of things like “transgender” as OPTIONS for how people define their gender on this census doesn’t mean YOU have to tick it. If you view your gender as exactly and wholly non-qualified, then just tick the box that matches! This is structured so as to have a huge amount of possible ways of defining oneself without being coerced into anything. You can even just say “genderqueer” or “agendered” and nothing else if the other options don’t match.

    I mean, I’m sorry if I sound frustrated, but we’re NOT going to make any headway if we set up catch-22s to allies where they can’t POSSIBLY please us.

  39. mnb0 says

    I can’t fill your census, because I’m neither conservative nor liberal. Nor is my level of education represented; moreover I keep updated by visiting BH whenever I feel like.

    Your poll sucks as I don’t fit in no less than three respects.

  40. Kilian Hekhuis says

    Although I wouldn’t say the poll “sucks”, it is indeed geared towards an American audience, it seems, and has its share of not-so-good questions. For example, the education question lists Associate, PhD, MD, DVM and JD, all of which don’t nicely translate to e.g. European grades (nor does “High School” in a more narrow definition). The “political views” question is even worse, I don’t even know what “Fiscally conservative/moderate/liberal” is supposed to mean. This seems to me a typical US thing. The question about “how do you keep updated” misses a rather obvious one: by checking the freethoughtblogs home page (no bookmarks involved even! I know the URL by heart!). The question about “How much do you enjoy reading various topics” presupposes I actually know (or care about) what categories each blog entry is about, but there’s no “don’t know/care” option. “Which of the following activities have you done within the atheist/skeptical movement” has “being ‘out’ to (non) family” – as if that’s something you do “within the movement”?? Ok, I agree. This poll sucks!

  41. Philip Legge says

    My hearty apologies, to both Jen and Natalie, for doubting that you Jen would have sought advice on this part of the survey, and to Natalie that there wasn’t carefully considered forethought made to these sorts of issues.

  42. Yellow Thursday says

    I totally wanted to choose “Babylon 5”, too. Not seeing that option, I had to pick my second favorite, “Doctor Who”.

  43. Jackie says

    The poll was fun, Jen. I’m not surprised at all the follow-up whinging, though. Oh, well! You can’t please everyone.

  44. grahammartinroyle says

    Well, I just tried to fill in the census for you but was unable to complete it. The question of how I keep updated about blaghag did not have an answer that, for me, was correct so I tried to leave it blank. The census would not allow that and so, being unwilling to lie and give an incorrect answer, I’ll have to leave the census for another year.

  45. ladydreamgirl says

    Would a macaron be a more acceptable cookie? I’m recruiting taste testers for my heroic effort to conquer this particular cookie baking challenge.

  46. Gregory in Seattle says

    You are such a geek :-)

    I did have a problem with the “How do you keep updated” question, though. I visit FTB pretty often and just scan the front page to see if anyone has written something new.

  47. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    I put bookmarked, but in reality I keep the ftb front page in an open tab all the time (as well as having it bookmarked) and browse everybody’s latest posts as and when I have time and something catches my eye.

    Fizzy drink, fizzy drink, fizzy drink! Yes, I am 5 y.o., why do you ask.

  48. Desert Son, OM says

    My associates all call soda ‘a large farva’.

    My thanks to both you and your associates for this morning’s burst of laughter.


    Still learning,


  49. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Also, I can’t be “out” (although I did tick it) because where I am practically everybody I know to speak to and all my family and neighbours etc. etc. are atheists – it’s just normal in these parts (and if people are religious, it’s just not something you talk about).

  50. Desert Son, OM says

    I sympathize, as I also did not understand these two optional questions, and so left them blank.

    Still learning,


  51. Josh says

    Boo, no “Space: Above and Beyond”! Give me my campy space marines and their fearless leaders, Colonel Frowny and Lieutenant Whiny! (aka, McQueen and West)

    I’m amazed that show lasted as long as it did on Fox, considering how blatant the anti-military-industrial-complex message was.

  52. Annabelle says

    Trans IS a qualifier of gender. I’m sorry, but that’s someone we have to live with.

    Obviously, I disagree. :) I do agree that “trans” is frequently regarded as a qualifier, but that does not mean I have to live with it. That treatment of “trans” forever relegates trans men and trans women to second-class gender status. It positions “cis” as unmarked, normal, and legitimate, while “trans” is marked, abnormal, and illegitimate – an asterisk on a person’s gender identity. It is “separate-but-equal” for gender, and I really do not understand why we have to keep having this same argument over different attributes.

    I have the feeling that if Jen had structured this as two separate questions (something I also suggested), you would have been complaining about that too.

    I specifically suggested this in my post as well, so I think it is unreasonable for you to assume I would have complained about it.

    I think getting angry about how she accommodates transgenderism is just ridiculous.

    Who is getting angry? I see two people (myself included) making politely worded comments providing reasonable feedback about an issue they feel passionately about. And I see one person jumping down their throats and putting words in their mouths.

  53. Annabelle says

    I am not trying to set up any catch-22s here. I provided an alternative approach that I think would address the issue. Another alternative would be to simply strike the word “gender” from the question.

    I wanted to identify on the survey as trans, because I want my community to be represented, but checking that box on that question would have meant misrepresenting my gender identity. I didn’t come out as a transexual, I came out as a woman.

  54. bahrfeldt says

    I am not faking an answer to the “update” question and your program will not accept it unanswered, my day is ruined!! Sob!!

  55. gworroll says

    No earlier than 78 for me. Not sure who the Doctor was on PBS at the time. Tom Baker was current on the BBC, but we were behind the BBC and “new to PBS” episodes with Baker were my first clear memories of the show in the early 80s. We might have still been on Pertwee when I first watched, though I was too young to remember, all my Pertwee memories are from reruns far later.

  56. treefrog says

    It was painful. Simply cruel of her.

    My dilemma: Doctor Who, Star Trek, and Firefly. How can you truly rank your favorites?

  57. gworroll says

    I use my browsers autocomplete. Bookmark seemed to be the closest option so I went with that.

  58. gworroll says

    It’s not perfect, if you’ve got suggestions for improvement I’m sure Jen would consider them for next years census.

  59. treefrog says

    My brother & I would stay up late every Saturday night to watch Doctor Who on the local PBS station, after which they aired Jack Horkheimer (who walked in space for a 10 minute discussion of current astronomical phenomenon) before the tv station then went off the air for the night. (Remember when stations went off the air for the night??)

    Pertwee & Baker & Davidson were our Doctors.

  60. paul says

    Don’t let PZ find out you’re doing this, or he will send people to crash the poll.

    I usually check off “other” for Race and write in “Human”, but I made and exception in this case.

    Does going to see Tim Minchin in concert count as “attending a local event”?

  61. jasonrobertson says

    Please note: making ‘how do you keep updated with BlagHag” includes only discrete and incomplete possibilities can lead to honest folks getting rejected when trying to submit. I chose ‘bookmark’ to fix that when in fact I have a solid memory and do not need use bookmarks that way. I just type in the URL every day.

  62. janiceintoronto says

    In Canada, it’s usually pop.

    In the Great Satan, seems like anything goes.

    I await the results of this massively scientific poll.

  63. Setar, too lazy to log in on his blackberry says

    Okay, done! And it was indeed better than last year’s Harper crap.

    Though, I will be confounding you a bit — my country is Canada, but since I live ten miles from the border* I marked my region as Pacific.

    And geeking out over stats and data is fun. You should see the notebook pages I’ve covered with geekery over how my taxes work out (I haven’t quite gotten to the point of graphing it yet, mainly because I need graph paper, but that’s the best part. Who needs art — relationships are just as amazing =D).

    * – and you can get onto my street from SR 539, albeit on the Canadian side — but that’s still 3.5 miles from my house :p but now I’ve pretty much given away my exact location and so will shut up.

  64. SallyStrange: bottom-feeding, work-shy peasant says

    I think the Sorting Had would be torn between putting me in Hufflepuff (I’m bumbling and inept) and Slytherin (I’m ambitious and sneaky). Since my ambition and sneakiness have been stifled lately, I put Hufflepuff.

  65. says

    Then you just tick what YOU feel applies to YOUR identification. if you identify as only female, and not as transgender or transsexual, nobody is forcing you to check those boxes. But you wanting them gone would force people like me into the position of not being able to articulate OUR gender identity the way we describe it. For me, my gender is primarily a woman, yes, but also a woman who happens to be transgender (generally speaking) and transsexual (specifically speaking), and I want the OPTION of being able to include that in my identification. That OPTION being present doesn’t mean YOU have to use it if you don’t feel it matches your own identification. It seems like you’re angry just because other trans people had the opportunity to identify in a way differently than how you see yourself, which is a very selfish way to approach this.

  66. says

    I don’t know if I agonized over any other decision today as much as that one. Especially with all of Trek being one category (I mean, seriously, Star Trek is like a pile of manure with some really nice shiny diamonds in it, and I’m fond of the shiny bits).

  67. says

    I’d like to remind everyone that this isn’t exactly a highly accurate scientific study that I’m trying to publish in Nature. I do appreciate suggestions and take feedback into account when making the following year’s survey, but try not to get too upset if you couldn’t pick the perfect answer. I also forgot to click the “other” option for a couple of categories, which is irritating some people. It’s too late to add it since 2000+ people have already responded.

    Oh, but I don’t apologize for the space-themed movie/tv show question. I did that purposefully to troll you.

  68. omnicrom says

    What is your favorite space themed movie/tv show?

    The answer for me is Mobile Suit Gundam but I can’t pick that. Why have you forsaken me in my time of need Nerdery? Is my love of giant robots with lightsabers and laser rifles flown by psychic teenagers in Earth vs. Space Wars not nerdy enough for you?

    Oh and my favorite starter is Snivy. Won’t anyone think of the Snivys?

  69. starstuff says

    Goin’ on a year now I ain’t had nothin’ twixt my nethers weren’t run on batteries!

  70. Mike says

    Why did you only include the original R/B starters? Why not include Pikachu from Yellow or the starters from GenII-V??Dammit, I’ve been a fan since the originals came out (still play my old red version, but can’t save) But Gen III was my freaking FAVORITE! It had it’s F*CK YOU moments for the experienced players, a nice learning curve for the noobs early on, and an actual change in strategy depending on which version you got, which I REALLY wish they kept in later gens.

  71. says


    The survey is obviously flawed. For “race” there can be only one answer “human”. Also, making me pick between Firefly and Dr. Who? What in the world were you thinking!

  72. eigenperson says

    I tried to respond to the census but I guess I took too long to fill it out or something, because it told me it was no longer accepting responses. Now I can’t access it at all!

    What should I do? This is extremely important!

  73. Patricia Kayden says

    Dang, you really hate PZ, don’t you? I thought he was just fooling around. You were a little harsh, no?

  74. Philip Legge says

    2000+? Wow. Mind you, you’ll have to throw out all of the data onward from the point at which PZ linked here. You know what the Horde is like when it comes to polls. :-)

  75. Who Knows? says

    I know this is shocking to you, but not everything is about stroking your ginormous fucking ego.

    Well said, but his ginormous ego won’t let him be wrong.

  76. Cunning Pam says

    Oops, I just saw the comment about PZ’s intrusion into your poll. I’m sure he thought it was funny, but I have to say I think your anger is justified, Jen. Your poll was something you were doing for yourself and your readership, and it deserved not to be messed with. Good for you for speaking up.

  77. Tracy says

    Ugh, I have been unimpressed with the content on PZ’s blog but this has proven to me that his ego has taken over. I don’t even see his purpose in doing this. Your anger about this is totally justified.

  78. carlie says

    I hop from one FTB blog to the next via the blogroll down the right side of each blog, if there’s a good way to describe that.

  79. mnb0 says

    Frankly I think PZM has a point. Sure he didn’t use the friendliest way to make it, but the point still stands.
    If the data of this poll are so important JMC should rethink her questions and reformulate quite a few.
    Being a Dutchman living in Suriname this poll had quite a few false dilemma’s. For one thing the American educational system is nót universal. Neither is the political spectrum. I am neither liberal nor conservative; very, very generalized I am a good old socialist.
    Not to mention that I don’t give a f**k about both Firefly and Dr. Who. I only watch television for football – that sport you Americans wrongly call soccer.
    So as far as I am concerned it’s only a good thing that the data have been ruined. They weren’t reliable anyway, as they excluded about everything outside the USA.

  80. eigenperson says

    Not only was the question about scifi optional, there was even a space for comments that you could have used to explain your answers to the other two questions.

    Personally, that seems like a good way to deal with the problem of none of the answers applying to you. Inserting hundreds of spurious answers seems like a not-so-good way.

  81. subbie says

    For what it’s worth, Jen, I followed PZ’s link, but ignored his directions on voting and answered for myself. To anyone who simply followed PZ’s orders, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. Yeah, it’s fun to screw with asshat polls, but this ain’t one of ’em.

    If you think it’s a silly poll, you’re entitled to your opinion. But then just stay out. The only reason to pharynulate this poll is to fuck with Jen. She doesn’t deserve that.

  82. carlie says

    My opinion isn’t worth much, but I didn’t read PZ’s post as an actual call to Pharyngulation, but as a joking one. I am sorry for everyone who did take the poll and screwed around with it.

  83. TooManyJens says

    Apparently there are people who think it was their DUTY to screw up Jen’s results because the survey wasn’t rigorous enough for their standards, and THEY don’t find the information useful.

    The arrogance and self-satisfaction of some of the commenters there is absolutely breathtaking. Not to mention the proprietor, of course.

  84. LetTheSchismBegin says

    For a guy who likes to point out everyone elses’ sense of privilege he sure did drop a whole boatload of it on this poll.

    Shame on you PZ.

    And to the arrogant hypocritical goons saying it’s for the better,implying she had it coming or it’s just a joke, shame on you to.

  85. subbie says

    You know, if there was even a hint of a possibility that Jen thought this was a rigorous, scientific survey, that MIGHT justify fucking it up. But anyone who thought that’s what she was doing is too clueless to live.

  86. Brownian says

    I was going to say that I didn’t think that PZ directed people to screw with the poll (he wrote, “Jen is polling her readership”), but then the title “Crash this survey!” didn’t leave some of the less independent folk much wiggle room.

    For what it’s worth, I answered honestly yesterday when you posted the poll, and I’m sorry for those Pharyngulites who fucked it up.

  87. says

    Have to love some nice evening drama in the Skeptical community. I’ve never quite understood the whole hatred of internet polls and all from PZ, but seems to be bad responses all around. But at least it’s entertaining!

    I’d come to fill it out (but was already a reader, so what can you do) via the link, was sad to see it closed.

  88. AZryan says

    I found out about this site from PZ’s blog.
    It’s closed of course now, but I never intended to ruin your poll, and I didn’t think PZ was sending me here as a mindless minion of evil.

    I thought his ‘shout out’ was just good free advertizing for you. I’m sure that it was.

    Personally I just wanted to see what he was even going on about. Since I can’t even see the poll, about all I know is that it had a silly favorite sci-fi show question -and like noted by several people, failed to have Farscape on the list.

    To all Firefly fans…that show honestly just wasn’t very good until the end of it’s 1 season run (after it’d already been canceled). It also did nothing that Farscape hadn’t already done, and far better, in it’s 4 season run. I have to believe most Firefly fans have just never seen or even heard of Farscape.
    Also, Firefly has the worst theme music (next to Justified), whereas Farscapes’ was awesome.
    But of course, Galactica was the best Sci-Fi show ever.

  89. John Caplinger says

    I hope it opens up again. I cannot wait to foist opinions, once the opportunity is suggested. But PZ cannot sway my opinion; I want to make my own choices… sort of like a freethinker. After all, the closest thing to a religion I have is Science Fiction, and we all know that nobody ever lies about religion, right?

  90. TooManyJens says

    I love PZ’s response there, too. “Just because I told them to crash the survey and they crashed the survey doesn’t mean anyone here does what I tell them to!”

  91. Brownian says

    Jen, don’t throw away the Pharyngulated data. You know what he wrote and when he wrote it, and what responses he even jokingly suggested they use (I’m still pretty convinced he was joking, though I’d like to read him say it).

    I’d say this is a good opportunity to see if Pharyngula is the really the hive mind everyone says it is.

  92. Philip Legge says

    Interesting point, if Jen were to run the Python script over the 400 or so excluded responses. However, that set is almost certainly contaminated with legitimate Blag Hag readers as well as Hordelings.

    Also, PZ’s title for the post was an imperative: “Crash this survey!” and he filed the post under the Pointless Polls category. So if it’s a joke it’s a pretty poor one.

  93. Guy says

    “However, that set is almost certainly contaminated with legitimate Blag Hag readers as well as Hordelings.”

    Yes, but you compare it against the first 1000 (or whatever) that has no Pharyngula stuff in it and you will see how it skewed the data set. Personally I think this adds a bit more interest, even though my data will be in the 400 (I came from the link on Pharyngula but am a regular reader and was looking forward to the results).
    There is a real opportunity to be “nerdy” here and make some conclusions about PZ’s “horde”.

  94. says

    And, instead of apologizing for a joke (if it was one, and I do believe it was) gone horribly awry as much as a readership survey can go awry (being unintentionally Pharyngulated, that is), PZ is doubling down on this being all Jen’s fault for not giving out secret passcodes (something to “assess the appropriateness” of answerers–Whaaaat?? What the hell would that look like?) on the Crash Don’t Crash this survey! post. *sigh*

  95. Philip Legge says

    I have an inkling that to be a fly on the wall of the FtB back-channel would be an interesting experience at the present time. The rivalry over things like Caturday posts/anti-Caturday posts is obviously friendly and conducted in a spirit of mock outrage. Crashing your neighbour’s not-entirely-pointless poll for no good reason? Hmm. :/

  96. Matt says

    I’ve been reading your blog since Elevatorgate although I rarely comment on it. I responded to the survey when you first put it up the other day, and picked ‘Firefly’ as my favourite sci-fi because it was so promising and was cancelled long before its time. I hope there’s some way of you discounting results from today and keeping the earlier submissions.

  97. echidna says

    The poll was very US-centric. Much as I enjoy Jen’s writing, and was enthusiastic about the poll, the way it seemed closed-off to non-US experience was really quite sad.

  98. TooManyJens says

    He’s really pissed about people pointing out that his actions have consequences.

  99. eigenperson says

    My reading was that he was pissed because Jen called him a giant fucking asshole.

    But maybe you’re right.

  100. Eliott says

    Really, Jen…that’s how you respond to this by saying fuck you, PZ…by calling PZ an asshole…this is how we roll…this is the intellectually mature response to a poorly executed attempt at humor…PZ…you may made a mistake…good natured as you thought it might have been…Jen…in my view your reactions are consistent with your prior responses of other times you got your feelings hurt or chose to answer defensively…immature…over reactive. You could have sent PZ a private note….asked him to help fix this…ask him to help recreate what you thought you may have lost…but no…let’s call him an asshole and tell him fuck you…to the world…nice job.

  101. TooManyJens says

    I’m sure he’s pissed about that, but he’s also at great pains to say that people crashing the survey is nothing to do with him, just because he told them to crash the survey.

  102. Pentimento says

    Wow, what a misandrist you are, Ms. McCreight. All those buzzwords you used against PZ Myers are either salacious in nature or stereotypical terms used against men to marginalize or denigrate them. I smell a boat load of hypocrisy. Fucking asshole? Ginormous ego?

    Let’s look at this from another angle:

    Fill out the Blow Hard 2012 Census here! – EDIT: I’ve temporarily closed responses because JM is a giant fucking vaguna who sent her readers to McRape the Scifi question at the end, and she’s ruining my data. Seriously, FUCK YOU JM. This project is important to me so I can learn about my readership. I know this is shocking to you, but not everything is about soothing your feminine wiles. Thanks for ruining my dataset, bitch..

    Yeah, I though so. Flame away. I know this will hit too close to home.

  103. eigenperson says

    Eliott, I see that a couple of commas and periods are infesting your nice ellipsis monoculture. If you don’t take care of this immediately, they could breed and take over your entire posts. That’s really bad for ellipsis yields. I had a friend who got infested with commas once and the situation eventually progressed so far that not only did ellipsis yield drop to zero, but his grammar also become good and eventually his posts actually started being persuasive. What a disaster!

    Don’t let this happen to you! Take action now!

    I can recommend a good exterminator if you’re interested.

  104. Eliott says

    Thanks for your concern…my iPad is being tented as we speak…oh shit…some of those little fuckers get out…




  105. says

    I have been a semi-regular lurker of this blog for a while now, but I did come over with PZ’s link, because Pharyngula just happens to be the first blog on FtB that I check when I make the rounds. I answered honestly, which I am sure the vast majority of PZ’s readership did (note the wide disagreement in his comments regarding the sci-fi category, even before this drama).

    Jen, I understand you being annoyed because she intended the poll to be for people who read enough of this blog to see it on their own. But what I don’t understand is this overreaction and personal attacks. It seemed to me (and is apparent from his recent comments) that PZ tried to give more publicity to a fellow blogger’s survey that he thought she would appreciate, and would not have done so if he had realized you would not, in fact, appreciate it. His crashing comments were obviously facetious.

    So yeah, I think you have a right to be annoyed and ask for PZ to take his link down. But the incessant personal attacks against someone who was, albeit mistakenly, trying to help out is ridiculous. I hope that you can calm down a bit and see that, and everyone can be friends again.

  106. Barry H. says

    For what it’s worth – I think PZ thought he was helping, though in his own unique way, especially after reading the comments over on his post. I also think the fact that he backed off when you asked shows that he wasn’t trying to be an asshole.

    It’s not a total loss, all the data before his post is still good, right?

  107. pahapillon says

    Exactly my thoughts, Wesley! Thanks for putting them into words :)

    Jen, I really hope you find a way to clean up the data or maybe redo the poll with a filter question (like, How often do you read Blag Hag), and I also hope that you and PZ make it up again.

  108. D-Dave says

    Hey Jen!

    De-lurking to say that I filled out the poll during the time that PZ had the link up, possibly through his site but had seen it here first.

    Hopefully the data wasn’t skewed too badly. I was also in the boat that voted Firefly because Farscape wasn’t seen as an option. :P

  109. Eliott says

    Charles Darwin…we are sending in the ampersands as we speak. &&&&&&&&

  110. keri says

    I should have left this in a comment on the poll, but didn’t think of it. I mostly lurk, and I read FTB blogs from the sidebar of whichever blog I land on first on a particular day, usually chosen by whatever recent post is most interesting at first glance – no RSS/bookmark/whatever for yours, though I lurk and read your posts somewhat regularly (I don’t read daily – there is just too much to read on FTB for that, though I’ve been visiting more often lately). It had a star so I assumed it was a required question, so I picked “bookmark” since the list of FTB blogs is kind of like one.

    Dunno why, but that choice was nagging at me, even though it seemed minor (and the FTB main page is bookmarked), so I wanted to clarify.

  111. DYS says

    Hm. Thanks for giving me an excuse to stop reading PZ’s blog. He’d been boring me lately anyways.

    Hope the drama clears up soon. I don’t think he meant to screw things up; I just think he acted thoughtlessly. I can understand why you’re angry about it though.

    Unfortunately, all internet polls are vulnerable to arbitrary manipulation. If there were a way to verify all poll-takers actually were regular readers, this might be avoidable. I leave it to brighter minds to figure out how to do that (Maybe some kind of pop quiz before you take the poll? Hmmmmm….)

  112. says

    Tomorrow was going to be my day for catching up on all the FtB blogs I follow, including this one, so I would have taken the survey then, if I hadn’t seen PZ’s post. Unfortunately, mine would have been one of the ones you had to trash, so I hope I can fill it out again.

    I did vote for Firefly, ’cause I do really like it best. As for the other fun stuff, I went with Squirtle and Slytherin. Hmmm…those don’t really go together, do they?

  113. Brad says

    It should be possible to figure out the trend of Pharyngula voters and statistically remove their effect from the data. More work with some loss in the confidence of estimates, but potentially fun to code…

  114. Daniel Schealler says

    Oh crap.

    It’s happening again.

    Storm in a teacup time.

    Yeah, PZ fucked up. But that’s exactly it: It was a fuck up, not a mugging. He should/could have realized that the dataset was serious, but failed to do so. It was his failure to check first that was the fuck up. He didn’t set out to wreck a dataset that he knew Jen was taking seriously. Major faux pas. Bad PZ. Bad.

    So Jen was justified in being pissed off. Yes, she overreacted a bit – but people do that when they get pissed off. Assuming an intent of malicious Phayrngulation on PZ’s would be an easy conclusion to jump to in that situation – particularly given that some of the Pharyngulites are basically just b/tards that happen to like PZ’s articles that could have easily leapt to the same conclusion that Jen did.

    So now that heated words have been exchanged and everyone’s backs are up, and people are all angry and defensive, it’s going to be very easy to lose sight of the actual issue that started all this and get fixated on the self-perpetuating interblog drama of it all.

    PZ made a mistake. It happens.

    Jen got angry because PZ’s mistake spoiled her data, which wasted her time and effort, and from the sound of it she thought he did that on purpose. People get angry in these situations – it happens.

    Everyone just take a deep breath and calm down.

  115. flyv65 says

    Hi Jen:
    first time poster, frequent reader. In the interests of full disclosure, I did come here from the link on PZ’s site tonight, although there are about 8 sites on the FTB I check daily, and others a few times a week. As much as I enjoy watching an online polls get their come-uppance, I don’t answer questions dishonestly, and I do enjoy your blog (…and have since boobquake, when I followed a link from somewhere and found you). FWIW, I would’ve voted for Firefly without the prodding (most under-rated show on TV. Ever), so I’m curious: are you seeing results that are out of your expected range, or simply a tremendous number of responses?

    Bryan…did you know that today is Nathan Fillion’s birthday?

  116. Denis Bloodnok says

    I saw this in my Google reader feed during the day and when I got home from work I filled it out dutifully, as I have done before. I can always figure out where I am on the fringes of the readership data as I am an over 50, white, atheist, no-degree, hetero male.

    Now I am worried that my data may be thrown out as it appears I filled it out during the time it was being Pharyngulated.

    I found this blog around the time of the Creation Museum visit (and yes, I found it because PZ linked to it).

    I forward Jen’s posts to my 16 year old daughter – a budding Geek who is being wooed by the school of Engineering at Georgia Tech. I consider Jen to be a great role model.

    Perhaps a new survey could be put up? Just pulling out all the Firefly responses won’t do, as my daughter would have indicated Firefly (I didn’t have the chance for her to fill it out yet, though)

    I responded with the proper answer – Doctor Who, of course.

  117. mnb0 says

    Which I didn’t, so that is not the smartest suggestion you ever made. I just stopped filling out the survey because there were too many questions I could not honestly answer.

  118. Anonymous says


    Setting aside for a moment the rather obvious problems with the whole reverse sexism thing, are you under the impression that assholes are particular to male anatomy or that “ginormous” is somehow a slur against the male ego in particular?

  119. says

    Oh my god this is awful. I can’t watch. I love Jen and PZ both and I really don’t like seeing things go like this. I don’t even care who’s wrong, I just want them to make up and apologize to each other and be friends and hug and then everything will go back to the way it was before.

  120. A. R says

    Hm. Thanks for giving me an excuse to stop reading PZ’s blog. He’d been boring me lately anyways.

    ^This is the shit that really gets me angry during these tiffs.

  121. Danial says

    This whole PZ incident is unfortunate(PZ’s definitely at fault). I’m afraid my results will be thrown out. I check the blog several times a day, but I definitely look like a crasher(took the poll about the time of PZ’s post, male, even said I heard of the blog through pharyngula(though I heard of it about the same time via Dan Savage and Friendly Atheist)). On an less serious note, I have to say I’m disappointed at the lack of comments in favor of BSG. My Sci-Fi credentials are strong (i.e. have watched whole series run of Farscape and Firefly multiple times and many other sci-fi shows), but I feel like people are just trying to show off their sci-fi credentials at the expense of admitting that BSG was a really good show. The choice was very difficult, of course, and one option was kinda cruel.

  122. Avi says

    Aw, I was looking forward to taking the poll. :/ Hopefully you’ll put it back up, so I can divulge my lurking opinions.

  123. Annabelle says

    I was attempting to address two problems that I saw with the question as it was worded:

    1) The question as worded did not allow me to both identify as trans and correctly specify my gender identity (as for me, my transness is a separate attribute from my gender identity). Since Jen included “transexual” and “transgender” as options, I assumed that she was interested in gathering statistics on cis versus trans readers. I wanted to point out that she might be missing out on some members of the population.

    2) The question as worded privileged cisgender and cisexual over transgender and transexual. The presence of trans options without corresponding cis options meant that the default, unmarked genders were cis.

    I realize after rereading my initial post that I did an absolutely terrible job of articulating this, and for that I apologize. I am not trying to accuse you or Jen of transphobia or anything of that sort. I simply saw a problematic question and wanted to help…and did a pretty awful job of it.

    The last thing I want is to deprive someone of their right and ability to self-identify. Rather, I could not accurately identify myself and still give Jen the input I thought she was looking for. I recognize that my initial suggestion (two questions versus one) might exclude trans individuals who do view their trans status as part of their gender. That’s definitely a conversation worth having.

  124. Philip Legge says

    Blimey. I’d only just posted there three minutes before your comment at #92, eigen. The trolls will be out and about for quite a while, attracted by the heady vapour of Internet drama: not a good time to reopen the poll.

    (For next year, perhaps Jen and PZ should conspire so that the “Crash this poll” link from Pharyngula actually goes to a slightly different address, with the exact same poll. Jen’s data doesn’t get compromised, PZ can get some data about his poll crashers, and Jen can control against a large sample of FtB readers.)

  125. A. R says

    Actually, it might not be a bad idea to remove this thread for now, so as to cool people off, and hide the poll.

  126. Brownian says

    It’s the doubling down that pissed me off. I’m pretty sure his initial point was to be helpful, but when a joke goes bad, pulling out the DM’s guide and explaining how many ways you were technically not in the wrong isn’t the best solution. I mean, I can’t be the only one who’s accidentally bloodied someone’s nose while roughhousing. Intent is not magic. Sometimes you suck it up and say “I’m sorry I inadvertently broke your thing.”

    But he’s taken the post down. I think Daniel Schealler’s comment #83 pretty much sums the situation.

  127. says


    It’s the doubling down that pissed me off.

    Yeah, I saw that you told him that. It would have been something to link to the next time someone accused people on Pharyngula of being an echo chamber, but it’s gone now.

    I’m pretty sure his initial point was to be helpful, but when a joke goes bad, pulling out the DM’s guide and explaining how many ways you were technically not in the wrong isn’t the best solution. I mean, I can’t be the only one who’s accidentally bloodied someone’s nose while roughhousing. Intent is not magic. Sometimes you suck it up and say “I’m sorry I inadvertently broke your thing.”

    That’s how I felt about it. It usually isn’t worth the trouble to try and defend oneself when something you did was what unambiguously caused the problem. Acknowledging that it was a mistake and doing what you can to show you mean well is sometimes the best thing to do. But PZ’s an educator first–a damn good one–and, well, it seems to have gotten the best of him here at least temporarily. And I’m having difficulty seeing how the insults Jen used even phased him. Does this rift really run that deep?

    But he’s taken the post down. I think Daniel Schealler’s comment #83 pretty much sums the situation.

    I just read Daniel Schealler’s comment and mostly agree with it, too. I can understand the frustration Jen feels, but at the same time I just didn’t see any sign of malice on PZ’s part. It would be nice if both sides could at least agree to recognize their misunderstandings of each other.

  128. Azkyroth says

    Oh fuck you. Find some other way to feel superior than sneering at people’s honest reactions to boneheaded and thoughtless behavior.

  129. Stacy says

    I know this will hit too close to home

    Missed the home and the barn, but looks like you winged a strawman!

  130. Stacy says

    But what I don’t understand is this overreaction and personal attacks. It seemed to me (and is apparent from his recent comments) that PZ tried to give more publicity to a fellow blogger’s survey that he thought she would appreciate, and would not have done so if he had realized you would not, in fact, appreciate it. His crashing comments were obviously facetious


  131. John Greg says

    I am rolling on the floor laughing with the deepest mirth.

    You FfTB people are truly priceless.

    Can anyone say I Am Not Orwell?


  132. amc says

    John Greg – this isn’t about you; it’s actually much ado about nothing.

    Now that I’ve burst your bubble please sink back into the slime from whence you came.

  133. Azkyroth says

    2) The question as worded privileged cisgender and cisexual over transgender and transexual. The presence of trans options without corresponding cis options meant that the default, unmarked genders were cis.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, there are a lot more people those apply to. There’s no logical reason why it’s WRONG to use the most common option as the default.

  134. Azkyroth says

    Why is that any less valid or significant than any other human interaction, dipshit?

  135. Azkyroth says

    Sufficiently advanced thoughtlessness is indistinguishable from malice.

    That’s not an issue with observational resolution – they’re literally the same fucking thing.

  136. Maarja says

    I’m also one of those who chose ‘bookmark’, although actually I come to your blog via the blogroll in my own blog.
    Also, I agree with the previous commenters that many more questions should have had an ‘other’ option – the political choices were quite weird for me, for example…

  137. says

    Jen – as a reader of your blog, I tried to submit my response to the survey but it kept telling me that I had left something blank.

    Admittedly I was tired but I could not find the unanswered question. I even answered the optional Pokemon question in case that was causing the problem (and I had no clue when it came to Pokemon stuff). No luck getting the survey to accept my inputs.

  138. Kilian Hekhuis says

    Has any christian blog already spread the word about this new rift in the atheist community?

  139. Amin says

    Sorry Jen, but I think you’re way overreacting, maybe because of his earlier criticism of #RR speakers or I dunno. To me his Firefly comment read like a joke, not an attempt to ruin (“Pharyngulate”, in your words) your data.

  140. JimmyHaulinHogs says

    Don’t forget to check out Greta Christina’s new book: Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 100 Things That Piss Off The Godless…And Counting…

  141. left0ver1under says

    As an occasional lurker, I’m of two minds: disappointed that I missed out on answering the survey, and glad that I didn’t get caught in the kerfuffle.

    Here’s hoping some fence-mending and forgiveness goes on, where appropriate.

  142. machintelligence says

    Beautiful response! It’s a good thing I wasn’t drinking a can of pop at the time!

  143. says

    D00d, srsly? I’m not saying that Jen doesn’t have a right to be pissed off (although I do think her initial reaction was perhaps a tad stronger than was optimal given that PZ probably didn’t mean to fuck things up, but of course he really shouldn’t have tried to defend himself once she made it plain that he’d fucked up). I’m just saying that I can’t stand to watch people I respect fight like this, regardless of who’s the one who fucked up more. Calling me a troll for hating to see this kind of drama go down when things really don’t need to be this way seems to me like a rather peculiar way of looking at it. What kind of reaction do you think I was trolling for exactly, other than maybe everyone who’s been escalating this into Elevatorgate Part II taking a deep breath and backing off a little, and giving PZ and Jen a little breathing space to resolve this more sensibly between themselves?

    I agree that PZ fucked up, but given that he’s apparently realized that too and deleted his own post on this issue (something I’ve never seen him do before), I’m not convinced that taking this to the level of a massive intracommunal feud is the right way to handle things. I value this community too much to be willing to see it torn apart over something that PZ and Jen ought to be able to sort out in private like adults without the rest of us piling on, and I just hope that they’ll see it that way too.

    If wanting to see things resolved amicably rather than ending in a genuine “deep rift” between bloggers I respect makes me a concern troll (as opposed to just straight-up concerned and horrified), then I think we’ve lost sight of what the definition of trolling is. That in and of itself oughta be a sign that we need to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves the way the smarmy accommodationists are always claiming we will.

  144. Brownian says

    Yeah, now I’d like to see Jen acknowledge that PZ wasn’t trying to be malicious.

  145. treefrog says

    Wow, did I have a lot of catching up to do this morning!

    For what it’s worth (from someone who mostly lurks on both blogs), I don’t understand PZ’s motivation. Since his post is gone, I can only go by all the comments here, but it’s hard to understand how he could imagine his link would be welcome. Jen clearly wanted to get to know a bit more about her readers, so the giving-her-readership-a-boost theory is a bit disingenuous. I’m with those guessing it was playfulness gone awry.

    And since none of us knows the behind-the-scenes dynamics of their friendship, none of us can be sure how out of bounds his behavior was or how outrageous her reaction. Lots of friends play rough and call names, whether joking or annoyed.

    I’m not sure we can make the assumption that 1) it’s a serious blowout or 2) that they’re publically airing grievances without private communication. Hell, for all we know, they’re already laughing it off. And laughing at all the energy we’ve invested in it!

  146. Brownian says

    Since his post is gone, I can only go by all the comments here, but it’s hard to understand how he could imagine his link would be welcome.

    It’s not hard at all.

    Of course, I can’t speak for him, but I took it as a nod for those readers of both Pharyngula and Blag Hag who might have missed it. He frequently links to other FtBloggers’ posts that he thinks his readers might find interesting. His readers get exposure to other bloggers, and other bloggers gain a few readers. It’s usually a good thing. In this case, it wasn’t.

    I think he was honestly gobsmacked by what happened and Jen’s reaction.

  147. Brownian says

    You laugh at people having disagreements?

    I understand that you’re kind of a lousy person, but I am curious about your need to advertise that fact.

  148. lordshipmayhem says

    There wasn’t an option for “Crest of the Stars”, or for “From the Earth to the Moon”.

    I ended up voting for “Apollo 13”.