308 Comments
deletedApr 19·edited Apr 19
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Download the xlsx / csv file linked in the post, it contains exactly that.

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Derp. Right; thanks. I missed that somehow.

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It’s a pity that the full question is not always presented on the charts. So it’s just Speech and some bar charts from 1-5.

(Presumably in that case given the audience and 1 was the plurality, 1 was full free speech and 5 restricted but it’s not clear).

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Above the link to the results is a link to "See the full questions for the ACX survey"; if I'm understanding your concern right, that should solve it.

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Funny how the love question breaks the bell curve and just looks binary, presumably because you're only very upset if you're getting nothing and happy if you get anything at all, with minor variations beyond that.

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The anxiety question is also interestingly bimodal. Apparently everybody thinks of themselves as either unusually anxious or unusually relaxed, very few people see themselves as being averagely anxious.

I would have thought that I'm unusually relaxed, but looking at this data makes me suspect that I'm actually averagely anxious. (This worries me but only a little bit)

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> (This worries me but only a little bit)

What a perfect coda to your comment

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I would like to hear a bit from the people who have had over 1000 lifetime sex partners. What is your life like? How many partners did you have to get through until you reached the rank of grand master of sex? (At least I would hope that someone with over 1k partners would be a gm of sex, gotta make all that grinding count for something!)

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This must be that ranked competitive sex I've heard all about.

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Divide it all by ten. A large nerdy group of mostly heterosexual men here, some of them shagging all day and night.

Maybe it’s the app era

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From what I've understood, there's a subgroup of gay men with hundreds to low thousands sexual partners. And ACX is more, not less, LGBT than the general population.

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I'm more interested in the person who says they've had 0.7 lifetime sex partners.

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Apr 19·edited Apr 19

Maybe he thinks blowjobs only partially count, or woke up after getting blackout drunk and thinks it's about 70% likely that sex happened?

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Pulled out 70% way through the act?

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Maybe they heard the "divide it all by ten" advice and decided to do it in advance to save us the trouble.

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Presumably gay. For instance, last year, I saw a tweet during gay month where a gay man reported 30+ partners in a week, though it was perhaps his busy season. Hundreds of partners does not seem unusual in general. Grindr may indeed be one reason but there are still the old means too.

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Or a hooker. Or both.

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I was literally in the middle of typing an equivalent post when you beat me to it.

Prostitutes are a lot rarer than gay men (particularly on a site like this with few women), but most gay men don't get to quite those numbers, so it's probably meaningfully uncertain.

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Does everyone in an orgy count as a partner, even if you didn't engage with all of them? I could see that as "I went to a lot of parties with group sex" being counted as "30+ partners this week".

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I mean, who has the time though? I only have time for 21 meals a week, and I can eat some of those while walking.

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i would predict more lizardmen than aella or gay men.

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I imagine it depends what the respondents consider sex partners, e.g. "that time me and a random person at a party made out and engaged in some frottage in the bathroom". If you have a lot of brief, unrepeated encounters of that sort, I could imagine getting up to 1,000 'partners'.

Either that, or we've got a lot of lizards answering surveys 😀

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Apr 19·edited Apr 19

I've seen data which led me to an explanation of the seemingly impossible result (found in many surveys) that the average straight man has had twice as many sex partners as the average straight woman: About half of all sexual encounters are between a man and a (female? don't remember specifics now) prostitute. There are therefore a very small number of women who've had thousands of sex partners, small enough that they don't usually show up on surveys, so survey data shows men had twice as many female partners as women did male partners.

It would be interesting to see the distributions in this data for straight males, straight females, gay males, etc.

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>I've seen data which led me to an explanation of the seemingly impossible result (found in many surveys) that the average straight man has had twice as many sex partners as the average straight woman

Men lie upward, women lie downward. Self report surveys are notoriously unreliable for questions about sex lives to the point of uselessness. There has been some tentative study of the behavior of the lying themselves; how much the deviation from the "true" number is, if the deviation follows a predictable trend etc. But these studies have the exact same problem as the originals. I quick google doesn't produce the specific study I'm remembering, but I did find this one: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4097026/. I remember reading somewhere once that men tend to double theirs while women tend to reduce theirs by 2/3rds. It all seems speculative though.

Were I to speculate even further, I don't think its entirely just people giving outright false numbers. Rather there are edge cases: oral sex, anal sex, homosexual experimentation, PiV sex that is quickly abandoned for various reasons. I imagine men are likely to include all the edge cases in their history while women are able to self-rationalize a great deal of them that "don't count".

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Besides lying and edge cases, there is also some people not responding, so the averages you get are averages of subsamples.

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Apr 19·edited Apr 19

The hypothesis that men lie upward was made in order to explain exactly this discrepancy, but nobody's tested that AFAIK. The discrepancy is precisely explained by accounting for female prostitutes.

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I was going to say, of all the things you think people are going to lie about, *number of sexual partners* has got to be at the top, especially with the double standard pushing things in opposite directions for the sexes.

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Please do bear in mind that there are a good number of women, & I'm one of them, who are not inclined to lie or self-rationalize in order to make the total lower. My total is about 20, which I think is pretty average for someone who's been around for a while, but if it's higher than average I don't care. If it's higher than average and therefore I count as a slut in some people's minds, good grief, I don't care. I've got nothing against sluts. What even is a slut? A woman who enjoys sex and doesn't try to keep the total number of partners really low? Sounds like a reasonable take on life to me. My female friends mostly have the same attitude. Sometimes this 89% male setting (according to most recent survey) sounds remarkably ignorant about the actual women of the present era. Hey, Eisenhower isn't president any more, guys, and most of us are not inclined to take a leaf out of Mamie's book.

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deletedApr 21
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Well, dear, I've been sexually active for several decades. When you're as old as me your total will be bigger, unless you find a life partner who keeps you happy and thrilled in bed, and that's even better than having a big total.

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Apr 20·edited Apr 20

If we understood women we wouldn't be here, right? ;)

Seriously, I mean....yes, the double standard has waned significantly, but there are still enough who will (and certainly enough men who will exaggerate the totals) to drive discrepancies in the numbers.

You could probably go back through prior studies to see if the discrepancy had decreased over time. That would be a fun way to falsify my hypothesis.

15. Can't say I ever really enjoyed it that much, TBH. It was OK, but I don't really understand why men wreck their lives over it.

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I'm in agreement with Charles UF, I think men tend to count 'that was sex' more than women (and conversely, 'I'm not in a relationship' more than women) where women go 'that wasn't really sex because...' (and then say 'yes I'm in a relationship' where the guy is 'nah, we're casual/friends with benefits, it's not like we're dating').

I recently learned the term "situationship", as in "I'm in a situationship". Not a relationship, something slightly more than casual, something like 'friends with benefits' but you don't need to be friends (e.g. sometimes you have sex with that guy from work, so you're 'in a situationship'). Me, I would just have called that old-style "casual sex"/"sleeping around", but I'm not modern enough for the subtleties of today's youth.

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Apr 19·edited Apr 19

Thank you for asking. That's was me (and some other people, I see). I'm solo poly, and currently have four regular partners (one of whom I live with) and some vague number of FWBs. The key to this large number is that most weekends, I go to a local sex club for an orgy and say yes a lot. It doesn't occupy too much of my life or my mind; it's kind of like juggling a fifth romantic partner, in a way.

I'm a woman in my early 40's and somewhat conventionally attractive, so I'm reasonably popular and tend to average about 10-15 sex partners (about 90% male) per night that I go. Of course, the community there is ever evolving, so there's a lot of duplication from week to week and estimating exactly how many unique sex partners that I've had is a complicated modeling problem, but I've been doing this for about 8 years now, minus a couple for covid, on a frequency ranging from monthly to weekly, and so I made my best estimate.

And yes, I do consider myself quite skilled, thank you. Practice really does help, and the wide variety of partners, each with their own needs, is ideal for mastering a variety of techniques and tricks.

As for why...well, it's partially because it's fun, obviously, but mostly it feels like a community service (in a good way). A lot of people aren't getting as much sex as they really need to flourish, and that's a thing I seem to be unusually well psychologically suited to help them with, so I do. This city and this community are important to me and have given me a lot, and this is my way of giving back. I'm a slut because I feel deeply that it's the right thing to do.

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How did you get into that? How do you stay safe i/r/t STDs? How do you think you're unusually well psychologically suited to doing this? I'm... kind of interested in the idea of this lifestyle myself, though I think I need more experience and knowledge of myself to know if it's something I actually want.

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I found the club on FetLife at a time when I really needed validation of my worth as a sexual being, and it was super effective so I kept going and then it just became part of my life even though I have other sources for that validation now (my regular partners).

With STIs I have a three-pronged approach of 1) always using condoms for PIV, 2) getting on PrEP for HIV, and 3) testing every few months; I've been lucky so far and stayed negative for everything (except obviously the really common HSV strains that most sexually active adults have).

As for being psychologically well-suited...I don't know. I've seen enough to confirm the commonplace observation that women in this lifestyle often become emotionally detached and burn out in a variety of ways. I don't observe this in myself, in fact, I'd say it's helped me a lot with my personal relationships and emotional openness. I don't know what the difference is. Is it my autism? My autogynephilia? Dumb luck? Some combination of the three, I guess.

Good luck to you, and I definitely encourage experimentation. Try to go with a trusted friend to start if at all possible.

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Gotcha, thanks! I appreciate it.

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Apr 20·edited Apr 20

Please ignore the haters--it's hard for most of us to find our niche in life. I am not that outgoing and find the whole process way too stressful, but if it makes you happy and it makes everyone else happy and everyone's safe, it has to be considered a net good.

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Apr 19·edited Apr 19

For those confused by this account, Sophia's profile identifies them as a trans woman. Which clears things up a bit.

This is one of the many reasons I don't go to sex clubs. *shudders*

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Yes. I was lucky to have one of the best surgeons in the world, and although I'm happy to talk about my transness, it doesn't usually come up in the context of the club unless I bring it up. It is definitely relevant to my experience, though; there's a common saying "a slut is a woman with the morals of a man" and I think about that a lot ;)

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I did want to ask about that, I have heard of a lot of other trans women who experienced reduced or absent sexual sensitivity after getting bottom surgery. I assume you retain function, do you think that's entirely a function of your surgeon, or of the type of surgery, or both? Also I don't know if you've had FFS, and if you think that's contributed anything to your experience? Part of the reason why I've put off surgery for so long is that the prospect of going through the process to find a surgeon/team that's good enough seems so daunting, and the consequences so important.

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My surgeon (Dr. Chettawut, in Bangkok) does seem to have some techniques that I've never seen replicated, so I'd have to say it's a combination of both. I have full function, and can orgasm both from clitoral stimulation and from penetration, though it took me several years of practice after surgery to really get good at the latter. I've had bottom surgery and breast augmentation (both with Chettawut) but no FFS; I'm genetically lucky enough that I don't feel that I need it; I'm already generally read as a woman with a particularly striking nose and jawline, and I'm happy with that.

I agree that it's super important to pick a good surgeon; I owe a lot of my happiness to Dr. Chettawut's skill and I've known trans women whose experiences after bottom surgery have been a lot less positive.

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Apr 19·edited Apr 19

Wow, gotcha! I recognize that name. I wonder how long the wait times are though. How did you decide on him? He doesn't seem to be too expensive, apparently?

Congrats on what sounds like an overall successful medical transition!

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Apr 19·edited Apr 21

>"a slut is a woman with the morals of a man"

Agreed, your behavior is unusually masculine. I wonder what could account for that.

Good times though. Enjoy.

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Thanks, I do. I'm not Aristotelian enough to worry overly much about essences

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I am reporting this comment, which is dumb, crass, mean-spirited and not backed up by even a wisp of argument or evidence. You appear to believe that your EWWW reflex is evidence enough. To put it another way, Wanda: Hissing revulsion for someone else's take on life out of your butt isn't a sign of intelligence, just of flatulence.

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Apr 20·edited Apr 20

I'm reluctant to raise this, but I think the compelling question here is whether the above person is being explicit about their transgender status with every one of their partners OR everyone in this environment has opted in to being fine with bisexual sex.

Because if they're not, they are

(1) raping people, on the now standard definition of informed consent

(2) validating one of the most extreme and universally mocked anti-LGBT arguments that people will be made to have gay sex against their will.

If they are being consistently transparent, then my complete apologies. I really really hope that nobody is being tricked into same-sex activity (or if you prefer, what they may very reasonably view as same-sex activity). But I've seen transgender activists outright say that they don't have to disclose their true sex to a sexual partner, and the idea that this could be happening (and that after years of laughing at the idea as beyond silly, the lgbt movement could be actually tricking people into unwanted homosexual acts, and simply rules-lawyering the definitions to deny it) is horrifying.

It looks from the context like Wanda is primarily reacting to this possibility, although I could be wrong.

EDIT: Oh and by the way, all of the above applies to gay people being tricked into heterosexual sex as well, which I think is far far more common since they're already in a community with strong taboos against questioning trans ideology.

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What is an EWWW reflex? Sorry, I haven't heard of that particular acronym before and a quick google didn't show anything.

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C'mon, Wanda, that's mean even by my standards. Whether Sophia is a guy, a gal, or whatever is not wholly relevant in "I sleep with a lot of people" unless we're going to talk about male sex drive and male socialisation around sex, and that's getting too detailed into a discussion of "this is why I put down that number on the survey" which, after all, is the main reason as to "how come some people put down high numbers?"

Women (cis) go to sex clubs as well as men (cis) and trans people and gay people and poly pan kinky people, I don't approve of the entire thing but that's not because my objections are founded on "you're not really a woman".

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She can make whatever decisions she wants about her life, they're evidently working out for her.

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You're trying really hard to provoke offence, here, and it gladdens me to see Sophia rise about it so graciously.

But maybe... stop? Whatever your feelings on various questions of policy or ethics in this area, what possible good could come from treating trans people themselves poorly?

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Apr 22·edited Apr 23

Since when is criticizing someone's obviously-disordered (at a bare minimum he's sexually compulsive) life choices 'treating them badly'? Read this person's account of their lifestyle: this is an obviously unhealthy person. I refuse to avoid calling that out. It does no one any favors to normalize mental illness.

I understand that transgenderism is a controversial topic and that you're obviously on the side that doesn't consider it a mental illness. That's fine, we disagree. However self-righteous you may feel, don't forget that a different perspective on the topic exists and that your position is the minority one, both historically and globally. If you want to advocate for transgenders being treated equally then fine - part of that is forcing them to experience open criticism from those who disagree with them. If they're unable to do that then they don't deserve society's respect or protection, and you do them no favors by treating them like children who have to be sheltered from opposition or criticism. They have to take their lumps just like everybody else.

I said nothing uncivil, simply pointed out a glaring inconsistency in their position. If they don't want to be teased then they shouldn't take such absurd positions. Transgenderism isn't even philosophically coherent much less empirically validated and I won't go to any special lengths to restrain either my disgust or my critique of what appears to many people to be an obviously deranged perspective - just as I wouldn't hold back from criticizing pedophiles, flat earthers, creationists, or those who endorse female circumcision. Sex is a somatic categorization not a psychological one. No amount of 'identification' can change it and it's simply a category error to argue that it does (as the recent Cass report suggests). I'm in no way saying that people can't do what they want - they can put out both eyes and go around claiming to be Oedipus for all I care - but don't expect me to view it as normal or healthy. Now if you want to argue about the merits of the ontology be my guest, but don't act surprised when someone raises an eyebrow at a [trigger warning: about to use a term which does not assume the validity of self-identification] man who's role-playing a woman when he announces "he-he I'm such a dirty slut that I'm practically a man". It's like the Emperor complaining that his new clothes are awfully drafty. Don't get upset when someone yells, "Yeah, that's because you're naked."

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Apr 20·edited Apr 20

Whatever dude. The community of people you want to do stuff with gets to decide what's acceptable. I gave up on kink and stopped identifying as poly at least in part because all the kinksters and poly people were woke and I knew I would eventually get in trouble, or annoy someone and have them spread lies about me. I don't get to tell them what the boundaries for inclusion in their community are.

If the people in the sex club are fine with her, and they evidently are, she gets to go there and have a good time.

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I just find it weird that you can be afraid of toxic wokeness (to the extent that you'll change your lifestyle because of it), and then say "I don't get to tell them what the boundaries for inclusion in their community are" which is literally the essence of wokeness: that some things (all things?) aren't up for debate.

No. Literally everything is up for debate. The last decade has shown beyond possible doubt that people simply can't be trusted with the tiniest exception to that rule.

That said I, too, am not too concerned with what people do in their own bedrooms. I draw the line at redefining words though. Especially when it's a deliberate form of mind control, which the trans movement is in spades.

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True. It is contradictory. But the thing is, you can't make people like you. And you can't make them sleep with you either. (Well, you can, but it's been a crime for thousands of years.)

I think there are probably higher orders of human who can convince other people to change the rules for them. I can't do anything about that. The strong take what they can, the weak suffer what they must. It has been so since Thucydides. All I can do is hoard money and wait for the end.

If other people are willing to accept her as a woman, and they enjoy having sex with her and she enjoys having sex with them, who am I to tell them they're doing something wrong?

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> I draw the line at redefining words though.

You should try reading this very blog! Its author has made some very persuasive arguments over the years about why there's really nothing to object to there.

But first you could try just thinking about it a bit more calmly, and less motivatedly. Why would you draw the line at redefining words, when that's both utterly futile (given that we do so constantly and have throughout history) and fairly arbitrary (given that there doesn't seem to be anything especially morally important about it)? Are you sure you're not just doing the classic conservative move of smuggling your objection to the minority behaviour/group into a series of clearly-related objections that you nonetheless pretend are principled and unrelated to your rejection of the behaviour/group? Like oh we're fine with gay people but we don't want children hearing about anything romantic/sexual, and the state should stay out of marriage (by not letting gay people do it), and religious freedom demands that we refuse to even recognise gay stuff.

You didn't care about redefining words when it was, oh I don't know, 'woke' (which you're now using it a way far departed from its original meaning). So why the sudden concern for the eternal preservation of original meanings? Everyone kind of knows why, which I think explains some of the hostility you're perceiving.

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On definitions of words I think https://slatestarcodex.com/2014/11/21/the-categories-were-made-for-man-not-man-for-the-categories/ is great, to the extent that I forget it's about transgender stuff at all and often want to link it just to reduce the level of confusion in a given conversation.

On mind control, I'm not sure what that means in this context but am sort of guessing that it's an unnecessarily loaded and scary sounding description of something which will seem more mundane if explained fully.

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People are really bad at estimating how many times they've done something they've done a lot. "Played Basketball", "Played Settlers of Catan", "Eaten spaghetti", etc. are things where people expect they've done them an astounding number of times. Playing Settlers of Catan 30 times is actually a lot -- most people who have think they've played it hundreds, though.

There are certainly people out there with thousands of sex partners, but there is also good-faith misestimation likely at work.

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Would they be better at estimating something like "the number of different board games I've played", though?

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Yeah, I think that sort of question is often better for estimation, though at high numbers I suspect a lot of people would fall for the same basic mental trick: "I learn like two board games every board game night and I must have been to hundreds of those", whether you're trying new games or meeting new partners.

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I think when you've got larger numbers, the better way to estimate is by estimating a rate and a duration. Once a week for ten years is 500, once a month for 5 years is 60.

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Interesting assumption; the only exceptionally promiscuous person I know reportedly has very average bedroom skills.

The speculation is that this is because they never get to do anything other than have 'first time' sex, because they don't get much - or maybe any? - repeat business.

So to them sex never gets past the slightly awkward 'getting to know you' stage, and they have never had the chance to refine their skills in any consistent way.

(Nor are they a GM of seduction, either - they are simply amiable, employed in a field that offers opportunity, and willing to say yes a lot.)

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It would be interesting to see the age distribution on that. By age 40, you can get to 1000 lifetime partners with one a week. Lots of people spend more time watching movies than that, without having appreciably different lives otherwise.

By age 60 you can get there with one every other week. But to get there in your 20s though you'd need some really high frequency.

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The reading comprehension clearly took a nosedive at the internet hours per day other than for work question, given the amount of answers that are >24.

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Also, some people were 2010, 2007 etc. years old when they got a smartphone or started using social media.

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I think some people used implausibly high numbers to mean "never", as the form only accepted numbers as input

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Unless they look exactly like the years in which they could have gotten them, like they do in this example!

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I can't answer for 2010, 2007, etc. years old when getting a smartphone, but I put either 0 or 9999 to try to signify "Never had one", and I don't think I'm alone in that. So some of the answers which look like nonsense can be trimmed out on that basis.

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It's probably just lizardmen

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Picking through the data in past surveys, I'm usually tempted to filter out anyone who gives more than one or two facially absurd answers. But then again, I've also found that in my own survey responses I'm less than perfect at even easy questions. Might be that a decent fraction of the lizardmen are just screwing up individual answers rather than systematically.

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Your latter remark is my guess as well. I'd also guess/bet that the ACX commentariat's lizardman constant is lower than in (say) YouGov surveys, due to selection effects.

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ACX readership selects for or against lizardmen? I think there are a lot of beliefs that are common here that many people would think of as lizardman-esque.

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What if they’re using more than one internet at a time?

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This reminds me of how SteamVR reports massively inflated usage time by tracking each instance of virtual reality, even when they're overlapping.

If I'm playing a VR game, using a program to show my Twitch chat in the headset, running the calorie tracker and using mixed-reality camera software to composite myself into the game for the stream, I'll be doing 4 or 5 hours of VR per real-time hour.

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Could you change the data download links? My browser complains that the current page is on https, but the download links point to an http page. I'm sure other people could have the same issue.

You only need to change to `https`, that download link appears to already work .

original:

http://slatestarcodex.com/Stuff/2024_public.xlsx

http://slatestarcodex.com/Stuff/2024_public.csv

suggested:

https://slatestarcodex.com/Stuff/2024_public.xlsx

https://slatestarcodex.com/Stuff/2024_public.csv

(As far as actual security gain, for xlsx this could *potentially* allow a MITM attacker to add a malicious macro, csv is likely fine regardless)

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author

Thanks for the tip, fixed.

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There’s a definite discrepancy between reported political spectrum - with the majority left or centre - and schools choice which I would rate as fairly right wing. The majority are in favour (4 or 5) and there’s a large centrist group as well. More than 70% favourable.

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I mean, there's probably also a discrepancy on the other side with COVID vaccination rate. ACXers aren't exactly typical right wingers or left-wingers.

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Also perhaps a cultural difference between European left ideology, which is mostly social democratic, and American left ideology which is left libertarian.

(Aligned with Americans probably being a bit more worried about their schools than somebody in, say, Finland.)

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There's remarkably little one can do to affect their school choice beyond moving or going to a special school like Montessori or one of the rare Christian schools, here.

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School choice doesn't necessarily fit neatly into a political ideology. There are justifiable reasons to be for it or against it at both ends of the spectrum. My guess is that the divide is more at the political party level because of the alliance between the Democratic party and teachers unions.

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I would hazard a guess that "school choice is right wing" may not be as true as it was pre-COVID.

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School choice being right wing is a US thing? In my country it's not on the agenda of any major political party

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Apr 19·edited Apr 19

It's largely a quirk of teachers unions supporting Democrats in the US, plus Republicans being anti-LBGT, pro-christian and so wanting to be able to take their money to a private religious school (or subsidize homeschooling).

But it doesn't always split that way. For example, a bunch of Republicans in rural Texas blocked school choice in Texas because public schools are important job centers in their districts.

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> public schools are important job centers in their districts

Could you explain the logic on this further? Why would shifting kids from one type of school model to another disrupt an 'important job center'? Teachers outside traditional public schools don't count as employed?

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private schools make public school pay look generous. lawmakers know this. the drive for "school choice" in the US is to get public subsidy for private schools, which usually means they are more affordable for middle-class parents but still too much for the poors. while whoever owns the school can profit from the difference between the money they get from tuition+subsidy and what they save by having lower pay.

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Perhaps this is true in some jurisdictions, though not all. My wife teaches at a publicly-funded charter in my local area. Her pay is average for public schools in the area. Note that this school is still fully publicly funded. There's no tuition for students to attend, and there's no private institution or church running the program from the background. It's a non-profit organization.

She used to teach at a public school in a different region of the US. Her experience teaching at a charter school versus a district public school:

1. Charters have fewer requirements against teachers that have built up over the years under the force of bureaucratic momentum. This means she's less burdened with some D or R lawmaker's 'reform' effort they implemented 5-10-15 years back but never checked up on it to see if it worked or was even net-positive (mostly not). Much more teacher empowering for decisions to be localized. Much less draining on already-stretched teacher time.

2. No district means much of the school's success or failure is dependent on the competency of local administration. As such, poor admin is a risk to the whole school, with little teacher recourse. Fewer resources to backfill positions in case of unexpected teacher vacancies and the like. Much less stability from independent charters (though maybe some of these multi-school projects overcome this limitation, we have no experience with that).

3. Back when our old district leadership was lobbying against school choice movements in the state, one argument against allowing charter schools was that they would hollow out the public schools as all the 'best' students left for charters. Our experience has been the opposite: high-need students concentrate in charter schools. This includes classes that are majority autistic, ADHD, etc. The result is a very high need for special education resources within the charter schools, alleviating this sort of pressure from public schools.

Oddly, the result is the exact same kind of sorting the opposition to charter schools worried about, except that this sorting is voluntary. I'm not sure what to make of this. On one hand, if the sorting is objectively bad then why do parents do this voluntarily? (They have to intentionally sign up for charters and transport the kids there, while their local public school will send a bus to pick their kids up.) If it's somehow bad in general, but good individually, should the state be removing the choices parents of high-need students exercise to get their kids a better education? Is there another explanation for what's happening here? I don't know.

What I do know is that none of the doomsday scenarios that were parroted when school choice was being discussed in our old district school were present in the city we moved to that had long-since implemented school choice.

In retrospect, it feels a lot like the arguments I heard in states where people aren't allowed to pump their own gas. Remove that restriction? How could we? That's a major public safety risk! Predictions aren't prophecy, and sometimes a policy has been successfully implemented elsewhere. Not all school choice movements have been successful, but not all have been unmitigated disasters either. It's fair to talk about pros and cons, but we shouldn't pretend this is completely unexplored territory.

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that sounds good, but unusual compared to most of the country.

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"against allowing charter schools was that they would hollow out the public schools as all the 'best' students left for charters"

Ugh. Unless I'm misunderstanding it, this is one of the slimiest arguments I've ever heard. Smart kids are, what, there to be exploited and used by the school to help the dumb kids learn? And not, you know, actual people who are there to learn themselves and that the school should be helping flourish?

If this is the argument, this is beyond disgusting. And one of the only times that "this looks like something out of the Soviet Union" is an appropriate and rational response.

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Sorting is good. If that happens by the best students leaving for charters, that fine too, not a doomsday scenario.

Different education is optimal for different kinds of children (both by talents and by psychological disorders). Sorting is more-or-less neutral for the kids an unsorted school's education would be primarily geared towards, and bad for the kids that are different from that.

More concretely, an unsorted school's education probably primarily designed for the dumbest kids. And the smart kids lose much more from that than the dumb kids gain from the presence of some smart kids they despise as nerds. And if the education is designed for the smart kids, it's bad for the dumb kids, and still worse for the smart kids than a school where they have more similar kids around them.

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Wait, are you saying private schools in the US typically pay less to teachers than their public equivalents? How does that work?

In my country, private schools typically pay a little more than public schools so they can have the best teachers.

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founding

Private schools in the US tend to have better working conditions than their public equivalents, because e.g. private school administrators can expel the sort of students who make teachers' lives hell. Also, they generally aren't unionized the way public schools almost invariably are; which is good for some teachers but worse for others.

So, the private school teachers lose the wage premium the union would command, but they're OK with that because its a much more pleasant environment. If they weren't OK with that, they'd go over to the public schools where the unions guarantee job security and higher wages so long as you're willing to grit your teeth and bear it until seniority kicks in.

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Many of the laws in this domain are means tested, so so that poor families have priority over middle-class families.

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And when it comes to charter schools what you're saying doesn't apply.

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Apr 19·edited Apr 19

Eh, people can rate themselves as liberal to lefty *except* when it comes to "where my kids go to school", then it's "I want a good school so they'll get good grades so they get good careers". If that means "local public school is hell-hole", then even the impeccably liberal will want the choice to send Junior to a better one.

Think of all the mini-scandals years back in the UK over Labour politicians publicly declaring their support for the public schools then it's revealed they're sending their own kids to private schools.

https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/why-do-my-labour-friends-send-their-children-to-private-school/

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Sure. But here the comments are anonymous so people can pretend.

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But they can't pretend to themselves.

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Are you using the US definition of "liberal", or is the usage where more liberal means less free standard in Ireland or the UK too?

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Irish/UK definition of liberal is not exactly the same as American, but I mean more socially liberal than politically; I suppose the equivalent would be mainstream Democratic Party in the US where there is support for the social justice causes but not to the extent of the extreme fringes, though liberals over here can be more economically right-wing as all the parties are moving towards the centre.

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The majority of respondents are US residents, so liberal-to-lefty may mean more 'I don't like Trump' or 'I don't dislike gay or trans people' or 'I don't want to ban abortion'.

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This also holds for relatively pro noncoercive eugenics, relatively against social justice, pro free speech, but also very against Donald Trump. Etcetera.

This is what one should expect in subculture's that manage to be more detached from the political polarization where people feel the need to agree with their own side's take on things. (Of course those views are influenced by the subculture, but that's because it is selecting for people who have some degree of shared core of ~understanding, even if they don't always agree)

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Apr 19·edited Apr 19

Isn't part of the fun of being a rationalist being able to make up your own mind, so your beliefs don't have to track everyone else's even if you've picked a side?

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Fun? You think we are here for fun?!

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*You* don't think fighting over finer and finer shades of definition isn't fun?

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Apr 20·edited Apr 20

This....is....Athens!

(More or less.)

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One, Scott has a very pronounced (by his usually relaxed measures) aggression against schools. Two, the alliance with schools choice for non-libertarian right (and the alliance between conservatives and libertarians more generally) in the US is conceptually weird (as Scott put it elsewhere, "I despair of any theory that will tell me why school choice is right-coded"). Three, the _reason_ for that particular alliance is, to the first approximation, ability to use/fund religious schools, I doubt that's the motivation behind people with school choice here.

(This is guesswork because I am on the other side of the question, predicting that most otherschooling will suck and the rest is better organizable within the system.)

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A magisterial survey of Elite Human Capital 💯 organized by one of its prime paladins.

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Trolling aside, the demographics of this blog aren't entirely intuitive, and aren't what you'd expect if your heuristic for ACX readership were "smart people with advanced degrees, disproportionately in STEM".

East and South Asians seem strikingly uninterested in the blog, given their representation in the above group. This shows up domestically, where white people make up a vastly larger share of the US survey respondents than their share of the US workforce at large tech companies. It also shows up internationally, where a vastly larger per capita share of the respondents come from northern Europe (even excluding native English speakers) than from India.

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i am surprised by more east asian than south asian readers, anecdotally i've seen far more south than east.

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I also wonder whether there are cultural differences in willingness to answer surveys.

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Rationalism selects for non-conformity in addition to IQ which is why white people are over-represented when compared to East Asians.

The underrepresentation of South Asians is interesting though. I don't have a pat explanation for that.

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It's very 'SWPL' to use an old meme, kind of like being into organic food or Burning Man. Being eccentric is usually only something you do after you've been in the country for a while--immigrants usually work pretty hard to fit in.

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I've heard it argued that multiculturalism kills individuality, because if you're part of a minority then your group identity becomes your personality.

Whereas in a homogenous society, people are free to be actual individual people.

It scares me how often these days I hear people talking about the intersection of all the demographic groups you're part of as your "identity".

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The standard counterargument is that people from minoritized groups don't have that choice, i.e. society assigns them the status of 'minority' regardless of their preferences in the matter, so it makes sense for them to band together and make that part of their identity.

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Sure, I'm not arguing that it doesn't make sense, I'm arguing that having minority groups is bad for society.

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Apr 21·edited Apr 25

I have heard a lot of people talk about how annoying gay men are when they 'make their sexuality their entire identity,' but that's not really what happens. Gay culture is what happens when gay men come together and determine their own cultural homeostasis and sexual mores outside of the homogenizing pressures of existing in spaces where 97% of everyone you meet is straight. Within that separate space, gay men are able to self-actualize and arrange their lives and personalities to best satisfy their aesthetics, idiosyncrasies, and desires, becoming individualized. But a straight person will only be able to see 'that person has made being gay their entire identity.'

In multiculturalism, people are actually allowed greater freedom to self-actualize, but when they are in the majority they lack the cultural fluency to recognize the fruits of that self-actualization in those who are not and just see the broad identity marker. There is a good article by the anthropologist David Graeber (who has been featured on this blog in the book review contest) called "Dead Zones of the Imagination," which discusses how members of minorities are often required to have insider knowledge of mainstream and majority culture to get by in society on top of their minority culture, but members of majorities do not, leading to them having a poorer fluency in connecting with and appreciating cultures outside their own.

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The same skews shows up in the international stats, though, which argues against it being an effect of recent American immigrants trying to assimilate.

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What's SWPL?

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"Stuff White People Like"

https://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/

It might be more appropriately titled Stuff White Hipsters like.

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Apr 19·edited Apr 19

Scott a paladin? He's more of a cleric of the knowledge domain, I think.

The demographics are interesting. Looking at the crosstabs (following Scott's lead and not reporting any subgroup with <10 people, except I'll make it 25 because I am only a lowly commenter):

45 Asian women, most of whom probably should ask their boyfriends or husbands if they've been brushing their teeth with any funny bacteria

137 Asian men, mostly cisgender heterosexual

141 subcontinental people, mostly cisgender heterosexual men

27 black people, almost all male

127 Hispanics, 91 of whom are cisgender heterosexual men

53 Middle Eastern people, almost all male

167 'other' people, 114 of whom are cisgender heterosexual men

Among non-Hispanic whites:

128 cisgender bi women

277 cisgender heterosexual women

37 cisgender 'other' women

45 transgender bi women

27 transgender gay women

277 cisgender bi men

3647 cisgender heterosexual men (no wonder the NYT hates Scott)

120 cisgender gay men

58 cisgender 'other' men

This tells us

1. The stereotypical ACX reader is in fact the modal reader by a large majority

2. Scott has a sizable LGBT readership, but nowhere near a majority

3. If you're not a cisgender heterosexual white man, you probably only deviate from the stereotype in one regard, being East Asian or subcontinental or Hispanic, a woman, or gay or bisexual, and probably not more than one regard (exception: there are a fair number of bi women).

(Where people listed a sex that didn't match cisgender status, for example someone with sex male but stating they were a cisgender female, I assumed someone fat-fingered it and went with gender as it required more thought. n=5000 and you're going to have some typos.)

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founding

"Scott a paladin? He's more of a cleric of the knowledge domain, I think."

He's the Rightful Caliph, which I think counts as a high-level cleric,

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And Philosopher-King of this domain, whatever that falls under.

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How is 61% the answer for using Substack on a blog only available on Substack? 🤷

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It can be received in email. There might be other ways of receiving it as well, but I am ignorant of such things.

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Apr 19·edited Apr 20

Apparently some don't count reading substack as using social media if they're not commenting. Based on some discussion at the survey introduction post.

And it's a fair point because social media is never defined. I still don't know what the phrase actually means, just what the central and non-central examples of it supposedly are.

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Was the (logarithmic?) scale on # of children intentional?

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It's not logarithmic, but rather it has columns for all answers given, including the lizards having half a child etc.

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author
Apr 19·edited Apr 19Author

Results I find interesting at this level:

- 13% of readers describe themselves as working in AI

- 3.3% made 100K+ on crypto

- About 10% of readers are annoyed by the flashing "draft saved" on Gmail. Vindicated!

- As in some previous studies, if you actually survey people about eugenics, present a fair plan, and stress that you're not a Nazi, most people are in favor or at least accepting.

- 50x more people interested in donating a kidney than actually started

- Most people basically happy with social media and AI. I should ask Turkers this.

- Most people plan to regulate their kids' Internet use

- Long COVID rates slightly up since 2022, from 3.1 to 3.6%

- Face masking rate down to 4%

- Even though I tried to frame the YIMBY question fairly, people were really pro-YIMBY

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Apr 19·edited Apr 19

I think you mean "since 2022", since one would assume the rate of Long COVID in 2002 was 0% (even SARS 1 wasn't around until late in the year).

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author

Sorry, fixed.

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I opened my gmail when filling in the survey and triple checked just now. I either don't have the flashing "draft saved" or have been supremely good at ignoring it even when looking out for it. Does someone have a screenshot? Does this happen in the browser or the app (android/iOS)?

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Same here.

As an occasional gmail user I've looked out for it and haven't noticed it either. A screenshot would be helpful.

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FWIW I think I described myself as working in AI simply since I've done a couple of small projects in evaluating AI translation quality. Maybe 0.5 % of my total income from last years comes from those projects, if we're being generous.

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If I read the results write I thought it very interesting that only about 5% use TikTok but 80%+ would selectively get rid of it far beyond the other social medias.

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Each extra 10 points of BMI drops you down one attractiveness point. Negative BMI almost guarantees you a 10.

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Unfortunately the main demographic you'd be attracting with a negative BMI would be fascinated physicists.

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At least we've established whether negative mass matter would be repulsive or attractive.

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Depends on the equation you use; I asked this on the physics StackExchange a while ago, and they pointed out that with F=mA, negative masses would get "chased" by positive masses, rather than it being mutual attraction or mutual repulsion.

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force amd acceleration are vectors, mass is a scalar

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Is that backwards? The force of gravity is proportional to the product of the two masses, so with a positive and a negative mass, the force has the opposite direction of what it would be with two equivalent positive masses. This changes the effect on our positive mass from attraction to repulsion.

Then, F=ma means that when a force accelerates a negative mass, the direction of acceleration is also reversed from what it would do to a positive mass; therefore the gravitational force that acts as repulsion on the positive mass would act as attraction on the negative mass.

This suggests to me that negative masses would chase positive masses. (In other words: all positive masses attract, and all negative masses repel.) Two negative masses, however, would be mutually repelled.

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Quite possibly backwards, yes, it was a while ago, and the memorable bit was the chasing, not which one was *doing* the chasing.

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It's all about supply and demand. Niche appeal works when nobody else provides.

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Negative BMI can be achieved either with negative mass or imaginary height. And from what I've seen, a lot of men on dating sites have imaginary height.

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Oh come on man, at least do the least-squares. I had to throw out cases where people didn't mention one or the other and the guys who put their weight in for their BMI and a couple of guys who claimed to have BMIs in the hundreds of thousands (almost certainly a typo).

For cisgender men (n=4291): a=8.5-0.1b, R-squared .0868.

For cisgender women (n=498): a=9.4-0.13b, R-squared .1976.

For transgender women (n=100): a=6.9-0.05b, R-squared .0214.

Where a is attractiveness and b is BMI.

So as you expect, it's a bigger deal for women: you lose 1.3 attractiveness points instead of 1, and the correlation is significantly larger, though weight still only explains about 20% of variance in attractiveness.

There were less than 50 transgender men, so I didn't check.

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I really thought the attractiveness question was a proxy for self confidence, especially since it is self-assessed attractiveness.

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I mean, it is. He can't ask people to put a picture of themselves on Tinder and report the number of likes; nobody's going to do that for a survey.

At one point it was possible to manipulate OKCupid into giving you your 'number', but that was a while ago and the code has long since been changed.

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I have a theory that bitcoin maximalists are also AI maximalists. That is, if you believe bitcoin will keep on going up for a long time, you believe that the total wealth of the world is going to increase, which probably means you believe that we'll enter an age of super-prosperity from AI. (Or maybe causality runs in the other direction: if you believe we'll have super-prosperity, then bitcoin might be a good way of capturing some of it.)

I think this data maybe supports that? People who work in AI earn more than those who don't (the bottom end of the distribution is curtailed... you don't see as many low-income AI workers), but income isn't predictive of cryptocurrency gains. I can't think of any other obvious confounders, and Mann-Whitney u-tests do show a difference in cryptocurrency gains between the "working in AI" respondents and "not working in AI".

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This is probably true, but for a simpler reason: people who buy into one form of tech hype are more likely to buy into another one.

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This is why it's important to distinguish between people who were into Bitcoin specifically and people who were into "crypto". People who were into Bitcoin made the correct prediction; people who were into "crypto" did not.

FWIW, I am/have been moderately long bitcoin (bought in around 2011, sold off small percentages over time, still a decent fraction of my NW, which has otherwise grown a lot over the same period for unrelated reasons), was anti-"crypto", and am currently optimistic on AI, although I think the upside is probably mostly priced in (unlike Bitcoin when I bought it).

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Any point buying any now?

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Yeah, applying my hand-wavy idea of what the population risk tolerance distribution looks like, I think most people should probably have at least some small but non-negligible chunk of their NW allocated to it.

I think it's a lot more accurately priced now; prior to, say, 2015 I was basically encouraging friends to buy it as aggressively as I could without coming off as unhinged (which means not very aggressively at all), and these days I don't think the expected upside to friends is enough to outweigh the social costs to me, so I don't shill it is aggressively.

If I didn't have any right now, I'd at the very least be maxing out Roth 401k contributions to buy Bitcoin. That's not a ton of money but it's kind of a no-brainer.

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Thank you. One of the ETFs, or am I going to have to go through the whole thing with the wallet and try to keep the exchange from stealing it somehow?

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You have to weigh the convenience of the ETFs against the loss of value in certain tail risk scenarios that "physical" Bitcoin would otherwise protect you against. Like, if you assign a non-negligible probability to a repeat of EO 6102, that's a +1 for "physical" bitcoin. If you're not too worried about situations where you want full control of your money, the ETFs might be the move.

It is possible to purchase bitcoin through tax advantage retirement savings strategies that you actually hold yourself. I don't know the details, but there are services that will help you with this.

If you decide to hold physical btc, I suggest using a ColdCard hardware wallet and a good backup strategy (one of those metal plate things).

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FWIW I'm pro-AI and anti-crypto.

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1 in 6 ACX readers is formally diagnosed with depression, rising to 30% if you include self diagnosis. Average daily mood is 6.1. That seems noteworthy, does anyone have the previous survey data handy for comparison?

And I hope that everybody reading this comment (especially that 30%) has a great day.

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Maybe they were diagnosed in the past but no longer qualify, or are in between depressive episodes.

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Yeah, I found this weird as well. I have depression (formally diagnosed, but it might be misdiagnosed bipolar; currently investigating), and I would rate my mood as ~3.5 on average. 5-6 during hypomania. (I mentally used a linear scale, where 0 is "unhappiest I've ever been" and 10 is "happiest I've ever been.")

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Most Americans, when asked to rate something 1-10, use a school scale where 7-7.5 is average. On that scale, 6.1 is a below average mood which lines up with the high prevalence of depression.

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Huh, it might be an American thing. I try to make 5.5 my median whenever possible.

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author

According to https://news.gallup.com/poll/505745/depression-rates-reach-new-highs.aspx , about 1/3 Americans has had lifetime depression, and 1/6 have current depression. Obviously this depends a lot on diagnostic criteria.

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Committed theists have a lot more children than everyone else, and are much more likely to have children. The effect is mainly Protestant/Catholic/Orthodox/Jewish. Hinduism and Buddhism seems to predict fewer children even than atheism. This might just be that people in their 40s are more likely to report being theists, but there aren't that many of them compared to atheists at any age group in this data set.

On that topic... The larger number of lukewarm theists in their 50s, 60s and 70s might be 1980s-revival related. But there's a spike around age 40 of committed theists, which seems to be a little bit young to be the echoes of the 1980s revivals. Outside of China, Korea, Africa and the Middle East, not much religious revival happened in the teenage years of today's 40-year-olds. So why are they showing up disproportionately often in ACX? (e.g. Expected 80, observed 112).

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I wouldn't read too much about Hinduism/Buddhism from this. Prob sample bias. Just given those religions aren't really a thing for Americans outside of East/South Asian immigrants or hippy types - and I could see birthrate being low among those groups.

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For Buddhism, I would expect converts (at least within the ACX community) who probably have lower fertility.

But everyone I know who is Hindu grew up in India (and migrated to the UK to bag a highly paid programming job, of course)

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Network effects?

Several of my friends are 40-something Christian ACX fans who discovered the blog via others in that group.

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Profession -> Physics -> 137.

nice

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There was one religion respondent who questioned whether Mormonism, or the LDS movement generally, should be classified as Christian. I don't have a horse in this race and am presently unaffiliated with both the LDS Church and with Christianity, but I've always thought that despite their obvious heterodoxy compared to the rest of Christianity, the tenets of Mormonism should be classed as essentially Christian (they believe in G-d and in Jesus, though their cosmology is radically different from traditional trinitarians and anti-trinitarians). For that matter, I'm also of the opinion that Hong Xiuquan's Heavenly Kingdom should be properly classed as Christian.

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It depends on what analysis you are doing. There's a lot of moving around between Protestant denominations (a Methodist might attend a Baptist church because it's more convenient and no-one would consider that unusual), but very little movement happens between LDS and anything else. So it makes sense to aggregate Protestant denominations together for almost any analysis, but only for some very specific analyses would you put LDS + Protestant + Catholic + Orthodox together, "projecting out the future market for uncomfortable pews" is the only thing that comes to mind where this makes sense.

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While there are significant differences among Christian denominations, basically only Mormonism introduces a entire third testament (Book of Mormon) to the cannon. If that doesn't distinguish you from Christianity, Christians might as well call themselves Jews.

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I'm a Mormon. We self-identify as Christian; I think should count for something. As far as practices, we baptise, pray in the name of Jesus Christ, and consider the New Testament canonical.

I think we are oddballs compared to "mainstream" Christian faiths. The Book of Mormon, temples, etc. are definitely different. But I also think when you consider the difference in practice between, say, 7th Day Adventists and maybe Eastern Orthodox, or even Roman Catholic and Southern Baptist, Mormons aren't THAT weird. There's a lot of variety in Christianity.

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I honestly don't want to get into a fight over definitions, but I think that us Papists and the Baptists both agree that Jesus is the Son of God and Second Person of the Trinity, not the brother of Lucifer which is really more like Gnosticism or warmed-over Zoroastrianism.

But all this is a very touchy point, so it's best not to get into any kind of hair-pulling over it.

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I'd call Gnostics Christians; they're considered heretics rather than pagans in the ancient sources AFAIK, and the apparent founders (Judas Iscariot and Mary Magdalene) certainly aren't unrelated to Christianity.

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Apr 20·edited Apr 20

Those Gnostics who were Christians, or glommed onto Christianity as a popular vehicle to transmit their teachings, sure. But I think Judas and Mary Magdalene had nothing to do with it, the Church Fathers write about and against named persons and sects like Manes, Manichaeans, Valentinus, etc.

For example, mentioning above that Mormonism considers the Trinity to be three separate beings, well there's St. Gregory of Nyssa writing about this exact thing in one letter:

https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2905.htm

And, as to "are heretics Christians?", there seems to have been some word-play about this with the Luciferians:

https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3005.htm

"2. When all were seated, Helladius the Luciferian said, I want an answer first to my question. Are the Arians Christians or not?

Orthodoxus. I answer with another question, Are all heretics Christians?

L. If you call a man a heretic you deny that he is a Christian.

O. No heretics, then, are Christians.

L. I told you so before.

O. If they are not Christ's, they belong to the devil.

L. No one doubts that.

O. But if they belong to the devil, it makes no difference whether they are heretics or heathen.

L. I do not dispute the point.

O. We are then agreed that we must speak of a heretic as we would of a heathen.

L. Just so.

O. Now it is decided that heretics are heathen, put any question you please."

Though I wish all disputes could end as amicably!

"L. You must not suppose that victory rests with you only. We are both conquerors, and each of us carries off the palm — you are victorious over me, and I over my error. May I always when I argue be so fortunate as to exchange wrong opinions for better ones. I must, however, make a confession, because I best know the character of my party, and own that they are more easily conquered than convinced."

The "Disputation with Manes" is a fascinating account of Manichaean doctrines (of a certain sort) as understood at the time versus orthodox Christianity:

https://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0616.htm

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I think you've perhaps estopped yourself from making the "heretics aren't Christian" argument, since Protestants are AIUI still officially heretics even if the Pope has decided the Church has bigger problems, and you're trying to draw a distinction between Protestants and Gnostics.

My understanding is that the Gospel of Judas and the Gospel of Mary are the founding texts of the Gnostics.

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Apr 20·edited Apr 20

That's why I said the original writer was being a little clever-clever with definitions. However, I'll find a lot more in common with someone who agrees on the traditional understanding of the Trinity, God, the Devil, Jesus, etc. than a different construction as per the King Follett Discourse. And before I start getting too nasty to the Mormons, I'll stop there.

Regarding Gnosticism, again I have only the most cursory knowledge but I wouldn't call those foundational texts. I would have said things like the Gospel of Thomas and The Pearl were much more important. They're important in modern scholarship and since the 19th century discoveries of them, and have been made much of by the Usual Suspects. Wikipedia tells me the Gospel of Judas turned up in the 1970s, is known in only one manuscript in Coptic, and of course got the National Geographic Special treatment:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Judas

Ditto with the Gospel of Mary, which was (re)discovered in the 19th century and is much touted by the "there absolutely were women priests and bishops and clergy in the early Church before the mean ol' patriarchy boys suppressed them" set:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Mary

But if you look at the Church Fathers, as I said, they're not (at least not in the surviving texts we have) arguing over "the gospel of Judas, the sayings of the Magdalene", they're arguing against people like Manes and Valentinus and the Arians. So Christian Gnosticism and the 'alternate Christianities' stuff gets a big "hmmmm" from me.

Though I think it's the ultimate irony that "Thunder, Perfect Mind" as a Gnostic text was used for a Prada ad in the Noughties. The complete misunderstanding of the philosophy there, using it to prop up consumerism materialism, under the idea of promoting feminism and the Divine Feminine as trendy empowerment concepts, just makes me laugh with pleasure:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hgQ7dOCeeY

*Everything* is monetised. *Nothing* is sacred, save Mammon. All hail Mammon!

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I'd be in favor of this, but only if we also agree that, as Lewis once wrote, "Islam is only the greatest of the Christian heresies" so we throw them in too.

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This was something a friend of mine brought up. I do feel instinctively that Islam wouldn't count as "Christian" (and a lot of Muslims would not be happy with the label), just as Christianity probably wouldn't count as "Jewish" -- so, I guess, the question is how do we define "Christianity" in a way that includes the diversity of Christian thought (including trinitarians and nontrinitarians, Chalcedonians and non-Chalcedonians, and groups like the Mormons) while simultaneously *excluding* Islam, Baha'i, etc.

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Certainly, early thought considered Islam a Christian heresy rather than a new religion of its own - see Muhammad and Ali in Hell in Dante's "Divine Comedy", where they are put in with the schismatics:

http://teachmiddleeast.lib.uchicago.edu/historical-perspectives/middle-east-seen-through-foreign-eyes/islamic-period/image-resource-bank/image-02.html

I think Islam and Mormonism can be seen to be heresies, due to carrying over certain Christian doctrines, but they are new faiths of their own as well due to the different understanding of those.

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Apr 20·edited Apr 20

I don't think you can keep the Mormons while keeping out the Muslims if you define Christianity based on doctrine: theologically, Islam is much closer to "orthodox" Christianity than the Mormons are. Sure they deny the divinity of Christ, but arguably the Mormons do too and they go the extra mile and demote God's position as well.

So if that's your goal, you'll need to define Christianity based on culture instead of belief or religious practice.

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Apr 20·edited Apr 20

I would say that Mormonism is a Christian heresy because it springs straight from a Christian tradition -- Joseph Smith and all his early followers were brought up Christian before they became Mormons.

But Muhammad was not a Christian prior to Islam, nor were his early followers. I think that's enough to say that Islam is not an offspring of Christianity the same way that Mormonism is, or the way that Christianity is a Jewish heresy.

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My core recognition criteria for defining a religion as "Christian":

1. It's part of the Abrahamic tradition and regards Jesus of Nazareth as a divine figure.

2. A major component of the religion's scripture comes from the body of tradition from which the Council of Nicea selected the canonical New Testament.

Mormonism pretty clearly hits both these marks. When people argue that Mormonism isn't Christian, they're usually using a narrower definition of Christian, such as adherence to an understanding of the Trinity that's more or less compatible with the Nicene Creed. Mormons, as I understand it, believe that God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are entirely separate beings, albeit closely aligned in purpose, and are not of the "same substance". Mormon Christology seems similar in broad strokes to the old Arian Heresy, which was specifically rejected by the Council of Nicea.

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Wouldn't Islam meet those marks as well? They see Jesus as a great prophet, and while the Mormons believe Jesus is the son God, they also believe that God is just some dude from another planet who got really powerful so being the son of God is not as big a deal as it is for more orthodox Christians. And Muslims do believe that the New Testament is part of holy scripture.

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Some believe in god almighty and others don't The differences among those who do are there to make the Lord laugh.

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I see "prophet" as being distinct enough from "divine being" that Islam doesn't really check that box: Muslims believe Jesus was a mortal man whom God chose to be a special conduit for divine revelation and on whose behalf God would work miracles, same as just about all Abrahamic faiths believe about Abraham and Moses, Muslims believe about Mohammed, and Mormons believe about Joseph Smith.

This might feel like hair splitting, but you have to draw the line somewhere between "particularly insightful and pious human whose teachings are worth heeding in at least some particulars" (as even some atheists believe about Jesus) and "aspect of the One True God" (as Nicene Christians believe). Drawing the line to exclude mortal prophets but includes faiths that believe in Jesus as a member of a triumvirate of three deities feels more like carving reality at the joints to me.

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The narrower definition is used because it's the correct theological one. According to Christian theology, if you don't believe in certain doctrines, you're going to hell (even for the "temporary hell" universalists). It doesn't make sense to call anyone outside certain theology boundaries Christian. If you're going to hell, you're just not a Christian.

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>According to Christian theology, if you don't believe in certain doctrines, you're going to hell

>If you're going to hell, you're just not a Christians.

These statements seem more specific to the beliefs of certain strains of American Evangelical Christianity than to Nicene Christians as a whole. I'm familiar with several major schools of theology that hold that the crucial role of faith in salvation (both in the Lutheran "faith alone" framework and the Catholic "faith and works" framework) is the decision to accept divine grace.

And in the Catholic framework in particular, it's perfectly possible to believe all the right things and still go to Hell due to unreconciled Mortal Sin. And then there's Calvinists who believe that it's arrogant to even try to guess how God chooses the Elect and that even faith is a mere symptom of salvation (and not a very specific one) rather than a cause.

I've also encountered people who define Christianity extremely narrowly, so as to exclude Catholics and sometimes even Mainline Protestants. But this strikes me as a radical enough departure from common usage that they really should pick a different word rather than trying to redefine an existing one.

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I stopped scrolling not long after demographics, distracted by the fact that apparently the ACX community should be a huge untapped dating market for me, a single straight 39yo woman living in New York. The ratio is fantastic for me! (Yes ok my very observant Catholicism narrows the pool a bit, but still.)

Ever considered running a lonely hearts column, Scott?

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There's a space for that in the Classifieds!

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I THOUGHT I had seen that somewhere! Even as I was typing I had this little niggle in my mind “….actually I think he’s done this….where did I see it……”

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He does, in his quarterly Classifieds thread: https://www.astralcodexten.com/p/acx-classifieds-424 (Ctrl-F for "dating"). And at 16.3%, a surprising number of Catholics (like comment thread mainstay Deiseach) read this blog, so you never know.

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EDIT: Okay, I misread - it's not 16.3% of the voting respondents, it's 16.3% of the third who answered the 'religious denomination' question. But still, that's 328 primarily male Catholics - plus, one "Catholic atheist" in the fill-in section, so maybe ~328.5.

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You like nerds?

If so, this is a really good place for you!

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Generally, yes, lol. I usually go more for lit nerds, legal nerds, medical nerds, or theology nerds, but I wouldn’t *rule out* STEM nerds, as it were.

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Why not drop a personal? I'm told some tradcaths have problems with smart women, but you can always weed them out.

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lol. Yeah. It’s more like they have problems with women with careers. But yeah I might put one in the April classified post even though I’m late to the party. Then it’s written for me when the next one rolls around!

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What is the data cleaning process?

Are nonsense/implausible answers removed?

If there's a clear troll/fat finger answer, is just that answer removed, or is the full survey from that respondent removed?

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author

The public data have not yet been cleaned.

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Apr 19·edited Apr 19

The "1-5" questions would benefit from labelling of some sort.

(Number of times the Chrome tab crashed while writing this reply: 0, because I deliberately did not scroll through the comments to see if anyone else brought this up, and deliberately spent very little time making the comment)

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