Sexual identity survey

Whale Oil is running a reader survey on age, gender, sexual identity and where you live.

Actually they are running a second survey because the first one was faulty.

Brief Whaleoil Readership Survey because of poorly phrased original question

Dear Readers due to my inexperience I phrased a question poorly in the recent Whaleoil readership survey so the results were inaccurate.

In order to get an accurate picture I have redone that part of the survey and hope that you will all be so kind as to answer it for us.I have also added the option of not answering the sexual preference question.

Unusually for a survey SB has also included her predictions for what she thinks results will be.

SB is mistaken if she thinks she “will get an accurate picture” from a self-selecting online poll, no matter how many times she re-arranges the questions.

There is no way of determining what accuracy you can get from polls like this. They are generally regarded as totally unreliable, except by media organisations trying to make headlines and stories.

In particular asking a question about sexual identity is at the best of times difficult to get accurate results. Particularly with deeply personal questions (at least there’s an option for “None of your business that question is too personal”) it’s well known that people often avoid answering accurately.

I am asking the question because Whaleoil was a big supporter of the gay marriage bill but we have been accused of being homophobic by the left. I am interested to see how many gay readers we have for that reason.

It sounds like she may be using the survey to try and show that Whale Oil is not “homophobic” but given that there are a number of authors and many commenters the survey makes no attempt to evaluate homophobia.

The results from the first inaccurate question, indicated that we have seven gay readers.

No it didn’t indicate that at all.

Typically there are many more readers than active participants on blogs, so a survey is unlikely to give any meaningful measure of the sexual preference of readers.

Seven respondents indicated they were gay, whether they are ot not, that is all.

There is no assurance given of privacy of information – I don’t think Whale Oil would in this case misuse information provided by readers but many people are very wary of what they divulge on the Internet, as they should be. That will increase self selection and in particular self non-selection.

The survey may be ‘fun’ for SB but there can be no confidence in getting anything like an accurate picture of the sexual identity of it’s readers.

And even though some readers may be prepared to reveal their sexual identity that does nothing to determine whether straight or gay or bi or ‘other’ participants see Whale Oil as homophobic or not.