More than 2,000 of you took the time to fill out this year's Skepchick Network Survey, and here are many of the results so you can see how you contribute to the intricate tapestry that is the Skepchick Network.If you're interested, here are the results from the 2010 survey. Generally, I just want to say at the outset that a very large number of you provided really great constructive feedback and really flattering love letters, both of which we appreciate immensely. In fact, as of today I've already made some changes to the site based on some of that constructive feedback:
- added posts' featured images to jazz up the RSS feed
- decreased the white space on the site, pushing elements a bit closer together
- made the RSS findable in Google Reader*
- scheduled time to start producing more YouTube videos
There are more updates that are now on my to-do list, too. I've also passed along a lot of your helpful suggestions to the other network contributors, like your desire to see some more long, in-depth articles, more international news, and more opportunities for you to get involved in saving the world. There are a few suggestions offered in the survey's open-ended questions that we actually already do, so I want to mention them here in case those people are reading:
- Make the entire article readable in RSS: as far as I'm aware, no reader truncates Skepchick Network posts. If you do see this, please use the contact form to let us know what reader is doing it so we can find out why.
- Allow users to comment without creating an account: for the past month or two, people have been successfully commenting on posts using Twitter, Facebook, Steam, OpenID, and lots of other options. Try it! It's fun!
- Add comment threading so replies appear under what they're replying to: yep, that already happens. A few of you complained that the threading is ugly – I agree, and it's on my to-do list of things to fix.
- Pay the writers: a few people said that if they were in charge of the site, they'd start paying us. The happy news is that Skepchick has started bringing in slightly more money in ads then what we pay for a server, and so each Skepchick writer is now paid for her or his traffic. It's not a lot, but it is something. As traffic (and therefore ad revenue) increases on our sister sites, I plan to start compensating those contributors as well. I wasn't going to mention all this publicly, but the survey responses suggest you all are more interested in the subject than I thought.
Finally, I want to mention that there were a few trolls (fewer than 10 by my count) – that was expected. They were very easy to pick out and discard (it took me way less time to delete them than it took them to fill out the survey), because a troll can't help but troll when given an open-ended question. The trolls were mostly very unintentionally funny, with my favorite being the one who seriously suggested that this site is some kind of income machine for me. It made me laugh to think that s/he read this post and thought it was all true.
OK, on to the survey results!
Here's who was responding: 95.8% of respondents read Skepchick, 5.5% read Teen Skepchick, 10.5% read Mad Art Lab, 15.5% read Queereka, 3.3% read Skepchick.se, and 2.7% read Esceptica.
First, let's look at the basic demographics that make up Skepchick Network readers. One of the coolest results, for me, is the gender breakdown. Back in 2010, we were 63.4% men, 36% women, and .6% transgender (those were the only options). This year, we're 51.3% men, 45.4% women, and 3.3% other (2% nonbinary, 2.7% genderqueer, <1% none, 1.3% unsure/questioning, <1% other, which included "human" along with other more helpful answers like "androgyne"). Note that some numbers in the following pie charts may be off from what I write because of people choosing more than one answer. Sometimes I probably should have gone with a bar chart but I'm sort of rushing to get this data out there at the moment.
That's a pretty impressive increase in the number of women readers, which I attribute to our renewed effort to focus on feminism and topics in skepticism and science that specifically affect women. As far as I know, that's one of the most even gender breakdowns of any skeptic site.
93.4% of you are cisgender, 3.5% are transgender, and 2% are unsure/questioning. 1.9% were "other" which included androgynous.
74.5% of you are hetero, 12.5% are bisexual, 5% are asexual, 4.7% are pansexual, 3.6% are homosexual, 3.3% are unsure/questioning, 2.6% are gynesexual, 1.5% are demisexual, 1% are androsexual, <1% are skoliosexual, and 3.4% other.
In 2010, you were 85.4% straight, which is another large change.
In 2012, here's how our racial diversity breaks down: 93.2% white, 6% nonwhite.
That happens to be exactly what the breakdown was in 2010, which means that we have a lot of room to grow when it comes to racial diversity.
Here's where you live: 59% in the US, 10.9% in Canada, <1% in Mexico, <1% Central America, 1.2% South America, <1% Asia, <1% Africa, 19.1% Europe, 5.8% Oceania, and 1.7% "other" which was entirely comprised of people who apparently either don't know or refuse to acknowledge that their location is situated on a larger continent, or there was some serious language breakdown. That mostly included Australians, but other answers included France, Ireland, Northern Europe, UK, Germany, Sweden, and California. Look, guys, I'm sorry I didn't have an entire week to enter every country into the survey. OK?
Anyway, a ridiculous percentage of you have achieved a higher degree: 2% some high school, 8% high school degree or equivalent, 21.9% some college, 5.9% associate degree, 40.7% bachelor degree, <1% MD, 1.4% JD, <1% MBA, a ridiculous 19% masters, 7% PhD, and 4.5% other, which included a lot of people who wanted to say that they're nearly PhDs and some people who wrote things like "some university." I'm going to attribute those to a language barrier.
Most of you got or pursued degrees in STEM: science 34.9%, tech 14.2%, engineering 14.1%, math 10.7%. Others: social sciences 12.4%, lit 6.7%, communication 3.1%, art 7.2%, music 2.5%, philosophy 4.1%, business 3.7%, history 5.8%, humanities 8.2%, education 4.2%, and 13.1% "other" which included classics, architecture, languages, and nursing.
Similarly, 44.5% of you are employed in STEM. Education was also common, at 13%, and a common "other" option was full-time parent. Sorry I didn't include that in the list! Healthcare was also a common "other." And speaking of employment, I forgot to include "retired." Again, apologies!
You're all pretty diverse when it comes to age: 1.4% are 13-17, 15.2% are 18-24, 43.9% are 25-34, 22.1% are 35-44, 10.7% are 45-54, 4.9% are 55-64, 1.1% are 65-74, and <1% are 75+.
Few surprises when it comes to religion: 86.6% atheist, 22.3% agnostic, 14.8% anti-theist, 29.4% humanist, 11.9% nonspiritual/nonreligious, 2.1% spiritual/religious, 1.5% theist, and 4.7% "other" which included pantheist and Buddhist.
That's it for the basic demographics. On to how you interact with Skepchick!
Surprisingly few of our respondents ever actually comment on a post, another reason why we'll be focusing on improving the commenting experience soon. <1% comment several times a day; <1% every day; 4.3% weekly; 36.6% rarely; and 58% never comment at all.
Most of you read the site on weekdays (70.2%) in the morning or evening (83% total) at home (83.1%) rather than at work (39.6%).
Many of you found Skepchick via Freethoughtblogs (19.9%) or by SGU (which I forgot to include as an option but tons of you included under "other").
Your favorite topics on Skepchick are, in order, skepticism, feminism, atheism/religion, and science news, all of which were chosen by at least 74% of you.
Your favorite regular feature on Skepchick is definitely the Quickies (82.3% of you said so), but a full 30% love the new book club idea, and a lot of you used the open-ended questions at the end of the survey to say you also love Ask Surly Amy, which I stupidly forgot to add to that poll. Sorry about that!
When it comes to the possibility of a new sister site, the most popular option was a political site (56.2%), which surprised me since I hadn't even really considered it before I made that poll. 47.9% of you would like to see a site focused on education, which is one that I've long wanted to do. I'll give this some thought to decide whether we'd want to open new sites about those topics or just make those topics more prominent on Skepchick and the other existing sites. (And "politics" would probably be something more akin to political outreach and activism.)
There were a number of votes for another language site, with the top requests (a lot, actually) being French and German. I'd love to add more languages, so these are definite possibilities. Two people mentioned Gaelic, and one added that s/he would love to know if anyone else mentioned it. There you go! Feel free to comment below, in Gaelic, so you can find one another. One person mentioned Spanish, which makes me think we're not promoting Esceptica enough.
Here's how much you agreed with the statements at the end of the survey: basically you're mostly all skeptics and feminists, you think the site is pretty funny and informative, you like the navigate, you might need more tree kangaroo pictures in your life, you like the diversity of viewpoints on Skepchick, you are sort of sure that this is a Likert scale, and you're sort of sure that the comments are interesting and well-moderated. That one is a little lower, so I take it to mean that we can make some improvements to make the comment section friendlier and more fun. Finally, we come to the only required answer: what's the best animal ever?
It was neck and fuzzy neck for awhile there, but red panda took home the gold with 26.4%. Sloths came in at 24.2%, psychic octopus is 22%, tree kangaroo is 11.3% (possibly due to its MRA connections), and poor Yvonne the Psychic Cow is in last place with 5.6%. 9.7% of you are awful and hate animals. How could you?
One person sounded really, truly upset that this question was required. I'm sorry, that person, but your anger made me laugh and laugh and laugh. Anyway, congrats to red pandas! Here you go:
Thanks to all of you for taking the time to fill out the survey. The ridiculous amount of kind comments you left was wonderfully overwhelming, and the constructive feedback you gave us will continue to improve the site over the coming weeks (and beyond). Everyone here on the Skepchick Network appreciates how smart, passionate, and involved our audience is.
*This confused me at first, because several people complained that the site wasn't available in Google Reader, yet I read the site in Google Reader and we have two easy buttons on every page of the site that lets you add the RSS to a variety of readers with two clicks. But then I searched for the network feeds using Reader's abhorrent search feature and I found that the sites were not, in fact, showing up. No amount of Googling found me the answer, so I whined about it on Twitter and magically @jlego pointed out the problem in our sites' code, which I promptly fixed and now everything is searchable. Thanks, jlego!