|The World According to Nick|
|My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.|
Thursday, August 05, 2004
I caught this article on Wired News:
The rest of the article really just discusses the implications of this statistic, and is an interesting read. However, I'm not sure we can take these statistics at face value, and I'll explain why. Recently I've also read several things talking about the evils of online newspapers requiring registration. This article also from Wired News was recently linked on Slashdot:
Once again, another interesting article, and taken together I would say that the facts of the second seem to put the facts of the first in a different light. The gender ratios of online newspaper viewership are taken from online registration forms. So if people lie (I'm commonly an 85 year old African American woman from Central California when I have to register), then can these statistics really be trusted?
I'll go one step further. Being a Software Engineer, I commonly have to deal with customers that are having problems with systems. One of the more common problems I face is what I call the "Make It Go Away Syndrome". This is where an error message pops up on the screen, and the user will simply click Ok, or Cancel, without even looking at the message or writing it down, just to make it go away. Could this not be happening when it comes to online registration forms? Even if users aren't trying to lie, they might just be filling in the bare minimum to continue. Since your sex is usually presented in a drop down combo box, with male usually being the first choice, a woman who just wants to get past the form may not change the setting, fill in the other required boxes, and click ok. Suddenly she is a man to that website collecting statistics.
So are most online news readers really men? I tend to think not.
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Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States
I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.
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