1572: "xkcd Survey"

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mfb
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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby mfb » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:18 pm UTC

Reecer6 wrote:Also, two of my responses I'm going to share, since I didn't sign any confidentiality thing.
Sharing the two means you share all. I'm quite sure you will be the only one to pick exactly those five words.

jongscx wrote:Where should we post predictions on possible trends in the data?
I missed that option in the survey. "Guess the most frequent answer to this question" or something similar would have been amazing.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby CharlieBing » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:41 pm UTC

On the "Which of these words do you know the meaning of?" (Check all that apply), I got 9 words:

Soliloquy
Regolith
Modicum
Hubris
Rife
Stipple
Amiable
Salient
Lithe

I figured all the other were fake words, but I missed Phoropter (some sort of eye testing device) and Peristeronic (which means relating to pigeons) and which is such a fine word that should be one if it wasn't already. But according to Oxford at least (and I am not at home with my Shorter Oxford with the magnifying glass), all the others are fake. It will be interesting what XKCD does with the responses to this question.
Last edited by CharlieBing on Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:19 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby jonbly » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:56 pm UTC

Athanasius wrote:So, did anyone else accidentally submit the form whilst mashing the keyboard for that one question?

Yup.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Bloopy » Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:59 pm UTC

testrider wrote:Glad that the animal question asked for 5, with fewer it would have felt wasted because of the dominance of cats and dogs in daily life.

I recently visited a museum with a vast array of skeletons and mounted & stuffed animals, so the regular old cat and dog didn't stand a chance. Although somehow the first one that came to mind was one I hadn't noticed at the museum.

Miskatonic wrote:How did you choose the random number from 1-100?

Those questions say pick a number, not necessarily a random one. I picked favourite numbers for both.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby J%r » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:13 pm UTC

I forgot which word I usually misspell, but I searched my irc logs for a word containing a, e and y. And apparantly I seem to misspell appearantly sometimes which isn't always apparent to me.

I couldn't think about many animals at first, as for some reason the word banana popped in my head on that question.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby kelly_holden » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:18 pm UTC

cowtung wrote:"How many older siblings do you have?"
For older siblings, I have only half-siblings. Do I count them as 1, 0.5 or 0 each?

"How many younger siblings do you have?"
For younger siblings I have full, half and step. How do I count the half and steps?

I don't have step-sibs, but I counted my halves as one each. Just because they have fewer genes in common with me doesn't mean I love them any less. A little more, potentially, because the increased age difference means I feel somewhat maternal towards them as well as sororal.

I have a lot of trouble spelling "thorough". In fact, my first attempt at it on the survey came out as "through".

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Kith000 » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:41 pm UTC

I have a lot of trouble spelling "DSJadnsdla".

Darn it, still didn't get it.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Jorpho » Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:52 pm UTC

I tried to submit my survey result this morning, but nothing happened when I clicked the Submit button. It occurs to me now that the form might have been trying to tell me there was a problem with one of my answers.

I was hoping someone would have posted here a handy spoiler guide to the definitions of the mystery words. Oh well.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby apricity » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:04 am UTC

PSA: Apricity means the warmth of the sun in winter. Y'all are welcome.
YttriumOx wrote:My choice for a word I always spell incorrectly was 'onomatopœia'. Something about the final vowel cluster always messes me up. I'm well aware it's an "œ" followed by "i" then "a"; but despite being quite comfortable with using diphthong ligatures in words like "encyclopædia", but my brain just doesn't like it in this case, and it looks even weirder broken apart to "poeia" at the end.
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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:15 am UTC

CharlieBing wrote:Soliloquy
Regolith
Modicum
Hubris
Rife
Stipple
Amiable
Salient
Lithe

I think that's the list I had, too. Though if I'm honest, I've never looked up "rife" and just know how it's used in context, which is always "rife with [thing]". Sort of like "shrift" and "smithereens."
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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby FishDawg » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:29 am UTC

None of the options for the Dress question applied to me. I have never seen that picture, although I am well aware of what dress you're referring to. I chose "What dress?".

Also, the keyboard mashing should clearly reveal that I'm using a Dvorak layout. astueheaosuhtoaesthusoaenthunoesthu

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Von_Cheam » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:31 am UTC

Is there any danger that a large dataset of random-keyboard-mashing output might be quite useful for creating some kind of brute-force attack (that would be presumably run after a dictionary attack fails) which narrows down the search space by eliminating key sequences that are unlikely owing to the structure of human hands and the prevailing keyboard layouts? Perhaps as a training dataset for a machine learning pattern-finder, or something?

Even if the probability of such a dataset resulting in more effective attacks is vanishingly small, surely because the number of people who might be exposed to such an attack (viz. everybody who has ever generated or will ever generate a password by randomly pressing keys) is enormous, the dangers posed by such a dataset, if it is at all possible, shouldn't be discounted?

Disclaimer: I know next-to-nothing about infosec and I probably mistrust frequentist reasoning just as much as you do. I'm not saying there *is* a danger, I'm just asking the question!

Edit: For what it's worth, I filled the offending text box with data from /dev/urandom, piped through a 'tr' regex to remove non-ASCII chars, just in case..

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Reecer6 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:43 am UTC

I'm feeling the slight tinge of #169 reading through this thread right now...

HoopleDoople wrote:Fill this text box with gibberish by mashing random keyboard keys - gibberishgibberishgibberishgibberishgibberishgibberishgibberishgibberishgibberish (and so on)


Like, come on, man, it explicitly said to fill it by mashing RANDOMLY. It's more likely that alien life doesn't exist anywhere in the universe than that you mashed perfectly randomly and ended up spelling "gibberish" correctly every single time in a long sequence. At least do the "ho ho ho i'm misunderstanding you" thing correctly!

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby dp2 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:48 am UTC

testrider wrote:Literally the last two things that I did right before this survey were shopping for underwear, and telling someone how nice it is to have all of one kind.

Needless to say, the last question freaked me out!!

That is a little weirder than mine, using "broccoli" as my frequently misspelled word, just a few questions before it asked about broccoli.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby ned3000 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:51 am UTC

This is definitely (previous word is likely to be a contender for most misspelled) the best xkcd in a while. I'm looking forward to parsing the data and publishing a paper on the correlation between people that can't spell 'cat' and don't like chocolate ice cream. Even reading the comments here there are some interesting preliminary results: When told to mash the keyboard many people didn't distinguish between keys that would produce characters and control keys.

My best answer: What was the last thing you ate: your mother's ass.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby dp2 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 12:51 am UTC

eran_rathan wrote:did no one else type 'five random words' when it said to type five random words?

Guess it was just me then. :oops:

No, but I did include the quotes when I typed "cat".

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Seraph » Thu Sep 03, 2015 1:44 am UTC

jonbly wrote:
Athanasius wrote:So, did anyone else accidentally submit the form whilst mashing the keyboard for that one question?

Yup.

I closed my browser tab.

Also I HATE the question "On a scale of 1 to 10, how good at spelling are you?"
Is 1 good, or is 10 good? It's it like starts, or is it a ranking? Who knows. I sure don't.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby cantab314 » Thu Sep 03, 2015 1:48 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Wait, the type-cat question is supposed to see whether people type the quotes or not?
It looked like a (crude) CAPTCHA. And perhaps if the form gets hit by bots it will turn out to be a useful one. I was feeling contrary and entered "Dog" though.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:09 am UTC

Von_Cheam wrote:Is there any danger that a large dataset of random-keyboard-mashing output might be quite useful for creating some kind of brute-force attack (that would be presumably run after a dictionary attack fails) which narrows down the search space by eliminating key sequences that are unlikely owing to the structure of human hands and the prevailing keyboard layouts? Perhaps as a training dataset for a machine learning pattern-finder, or something?

Even if the probability of such a dataset resulting in more effective attacks is vanishingly small, surely because the number of people who might be exposed to such an attack (viz. everybody who has ever generated or will ever generate a password by randomly pressing keys) is enormous, the dangers posed by such a dataset, if it is at all possible, shouldn't be discounted?

Disclaimer: I know next-to-nothing about infosec and I probably mistrust frequentist reasoning just as much as you do. I'm not saying there *is* a danger, I'm just asking the question!

Edit: For what it's worth, I filled the offending text box with data from /dev/urandom, piped through a 'tr' regex to remove non-ASCII chars, just in case..

You had the single best possible survey answer, but no, I don't think that's a reasonable concern. Partly because people probably don't follow normal typing patterns when keyboard mashing, meaning that there's a completely different set of idiosyncrasies, but mostly because trying not to accidentally discover security issues is the worst approach to security.
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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Reka » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:40 am UTC

I'm confused about the last question. Specifically, why is it asking about "socks/underwear"? I totally understand about getting a large quantity of identical socks, because pairing up socks has gotta be one of the biggest wastes of time out there, but underwear? Do people go around wearing two pairs of underpants, or do they try to match panties and bras, or do they cut their underpants in half so they match the grammar to the garment (i.e. we talk about pairs of pants, but it's only ever one garment), or are folks stuck in a time warp where their underpants do actually come as two separate legs tied together at the waist, or what? Why does it matter whether or not your underwear matches anything else you own??

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby DStaal » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:41 am UTC

FishDawg wrote:Also, the keyboard mashing should clearly reveal that I'm using a Dvorak layout. astueheaosuhtoaesthusoaenthunoesthu

I'm not sure if it'll be clear - but I'm another Dvorak user, and I'll be interested to see if people can pick us out of the crowd.

As a side-note, I shared the survey link on Facebook to try to get a more random sampling of people to see it. (ie: Those who don't read xkcd.)

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Ann_xkcd » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:45 am UTC

In the "which of these do you strongly dislike the taste/texture" question, I have never tasted four out of the ten of those... I don't know if I like them or not! I suspect, since I'm a generally picky eater, I probably don't like them (part of the reason why I haven't had some of them), but I don't know for sure, so I had to leave them blank.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby jc » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:50 am UTC

CPADave71 wrote:Also, my misspelled word was "occasionally" as well. It's like we're a hive mind.


My favorite misspelt word is "mispell". It's always seemed to me that spelling it correctly would be, well, silly. But then, I've always sorta liked self-referential things. I even once had the fun of writing "mispelled", and hearing someone say "That's not 'misspelled'", to which I could reply "Yes, it is." (Nowadays, I'd probably add "Oh, wait ...".)

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:56 am UTC

Copper Bezel wrote:My guaranteed-to-be-random response to "five random words" was "but random is hard though"

Mine was something similar as well. I put each word on a separate line to add to the verisimilitude.
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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby kelly_holden » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:59 am UTC

Reka wrote:I'm confused about the last question. Specifically, why is it asking about "socks/underwear"? I totally understand about getting a large quantity of identical socks, because pairing up socks has gotta be one of the biggest wastes of time out there, but underwear? Do people go around wearing two pairs of underpants, or do they try to match panties and bras, or do they cut their underpants in half so they match the grammar to the garment (i.e. we talk about pairs of pants, but it's only ever one garment), or are folks stuck in a time warp where their underpants do actually come as two separate legs tied together at the waist, or what? Why does it matter whether or not your underwear matches anything else you own??

That's a good question. I have owned identical pairs of socks, and I've found that eventually they stop being completely identical due to different amounts of wear, and matching them up gets weird. It's a bit better now I live on my own, but when I lived with my mother, occasionally my brother got my socks and I'd wind up with one of the pairs being all stretched out.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby RogueCynic » Thu Sep 03, 2015 4:08 am UTC

I tried submitting but for some reason it did not accept pi as a number between 1 and 100.
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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Jorpho » Thu Sep 03, 2015 4:09 am UTC

Ahh, submitted it properly this time. Looks like the order of at least some of the responses is randomized.

I wrote that I thought the data was stored in a subterranean server farm, and then I realized I couldn't spell "subterranean". But now it looks like I've got it. Hmm.

cantab314 wrote:It looked like a (crude) CAPTCHA. And perhaps if the form gets hit by bots it will turn out to be a useful one.
I think "Leave this space empty" might have produced some informative results.

I'm also looking forward to how many of the survey results will be a variation on cat'); DROP TABLE results;--.

Reka wrote:I totally understand about getting a large quantity of identical socks, because pairing up socks has gotta be one of the biggest wastes of time out there
How comforting that I'm not alone in that. I'd like to get some of those fancy numbered socks, but never found a set that I liked. So last time I bought socks I used a little sewing kit to put a couple of loops of different-colored thread in the top of each sock. It was only a little time consuming, and I'm quite pleased with the result.

oh no I'm telling people about my socks now

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby freexstate » Thu Sep 03, 2015 5:13 am UTC

I am a Statistics teacher, and I wish to use the XKCD survey as a little assignment (i.e. award a few extra credit points to the students who fill out the survey). Does anyone know when the survey will be closed?

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby teelo » Thu Sep 03, 2015 5:41 am UTC

Okay, who else filled the food field with an obligatory SQL injection?

A hu hu hu hu hu.

Oh and who else put helpimtrappedinagibberishfactory in the gibberish textbox?

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby darkdaemon » Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:11 am UTC

I was too enthusiastic when mashing my keyboard and hit enter. I wonder if I should re-do the survey.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Plutarch » Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:21 am UTC

I liked the survey but when the results are correlated - or whatever is done with them - you should pay some attention to the American slant of some of the questions. 'Dunk a basketball' for instance. Few people apart from Americans would do that. 'Stick-shift,' - that would just be a normal car in the UK. As for the sandwiches, I don't know if this is because they're American terms, or it's just me not knowing them, but I'm not at all certain what a hoagie is. I've seen a calzone on TV but not in real life, I don't know what a cheesesteak is, or a quesadilla.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Plasma Mongoose » Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:58 am UTC

Whizbang wrote:I attempted to troll the survey by being honest and compliant with the instructions in a reasonable manner.


I did that as well, it's the equivalent to the Untwist trope in movies.

I suspect that with the five animals thing, cats and dogs are going to be the most common.

The word I have the most trouble spelling right is Olympics.
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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby lordatog » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:03 am UTC

I can never spell definitely without looking it up. I always know it's either "definitely" or "definately", can never remember which, and almost always guess wrong. Even if I take into account that I always get it wrong and thus choose the option that seems wrong at the time, I get it wrong. It's literally the only word I use with any frequency that gives me any trouble at all.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Plasma Mongoose » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:24 am UTC

Pick a number from 1-100: 42(Any geek worth their towel knows why I chose that number)

Do you know your Myers-Briggs type? Over the years and various tests I mostly get INTP with the rare ISTP.
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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby willwats » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:25 am UTC

timepiece wrote:
airdrik wrote:
The random gibberish one was fun but a bit frustrating. On my phone, the keyboard I use uses a custom layout designed for right-handed swiping, so the distribution of letters and letter combinations will be off from what one would expect from standard qwerty (or other popular) layouts.
I got impatient and didn't finish because the delay each time I hit space/enter was just obnoxious.


Ooh, I need to resubmit with my phone, which also uses a custom keyboard where some letters are straight taps and some require swiping. My entire gibberish set will consist of "anihortes " unless I acccidentally get some swipes in. I'd love to see the head tilt while someone tries to figure that out.



I used this keyboard but did lots of swiping and had multiple fingers on the keypad. This led to many strangely accented characters, superscript, and led me to learn about the per mille symbol.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Znirk » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:30 am UTC

Plutarch wrote:As for the sandwiches, I don't know if this is because they're American terms, or it's just me not knowing them, but I'm not at all certain what a hoagie is. I've seen a calzone on TV but not in real life, I don't know what a cheesesteak is, or a quesadilla.

I just looked them up. Unlike with the specific "Which words do you know" question, google seemed an appropriate tool. In case anyone is interested, here's my understanding of the sandwich candidates.
Spoiler:
Taco - any food wrapped in a (Mexican-definition) tortilla
Hamburger - mincemeat rissole, often served in a cut-open bun
Sub/Hoagie - cut-open mini-baguette containing other food
Cheesesteak - specific type of Sub containing kebab meat and melted cheese
Quesadilla - Taco with a coating of cheese between the tortilla and the other food
Open-faced sandwich - food on a slice of bread
Calzone - Pizza folded in half before baking, shaped like an oversize mezzaluna. Traditionally with ricotta and meat, but like with open-faced pizza the definition has expanded.

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby orthogon » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:42 am UTC

Eoink wrote:
cellocgw wrote:Talking of strange lists and strange words, how about this:


Are there any words which are their own definition? I thought of "self-explanatory" but that's kind of the opposite.


How about "word", "noun", " pentasyllabic", and on its first use only "neologism".

:-) I'm not clear what cellocgw means. Your words are self-describing: they denote a category to which the word itself belongs or a characteristic that the word itself possesses. Self-defining would appear to mean that the word acts as its own definition. Any word that's a compound of other words, like doorknob, broomstick, waterfall or overzealous is in a sense self-defining, though often the meaning is more specific than the apparent intrinsic definition (if a pipe in my flat bursts, whatever my downstairs neighbour has to contend with, it's not really a waterfall). Words employing affixes, like superhuman could also be said to be self-defining; and if we allow foreign elements, then supervise counts. In a sense the only words that aren't self-defining are (i) words that mean something just because they do, (ii) words that have come to mean something different to their etymological origins. Even category (i) could be said to be self-defining in a kind of vacuous sense. Some of these category (i) words will have unknown etymology; others will be cognate with the very first words uttered by homo sapiens, which is a kind of awesome thought.
Last edited by orthogon on Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:57 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Eternal Density » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:42 am UTC

cellocgw wrote:Statistician gripe: it's impossible for us to come up with random words, even selecting from the words we know. THere are two many subconscious and conscious biases for us to choose randomly.
I thought that was somewhat the point of the question. Not to capture truly random words, but to get a glimpse at what biases may have affected the choice of 'random words'.

I just wrote the first words I thought of. Sadly, none of those words was 'molpy'.
edit:
well I was prompted to take an online Myers Briggs test, out of curiousity, since it was on the survey and I didn't know what I was. I've read about the concept a few times but was never really motivated to find out. Anyhow, it put me down as INTJ, though the preferences are moderate, moderate, slight, and moderate respectively, with the highest preference being the one towards introversion, which doesn't surprise me. Exactly how accurate my own estimation of myself is, is another matter though.
Last edited by Eternal Density on Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:59 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby Ellliottt » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:50 am UTC

Eternal Density wrote:
cellocgw wrote:Statistician gripe: it's impossible for us to come up with random words, even selecting from the words we know. THere are two many subconscious and conscious biases for us to choose randomly.
I thought that was somewhat the point of the question. Not to capture truly random words, but to get a glimpse at what biases may have affected the choice of 'random words'.

I just wrote the first words I thought of. Sadly, none of those words was 'molpy'.


I can't have been the only person who downloaded a large text file with common English words and used a random number generator to answer this field... can I?

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Re: 1572: "xkcd Survey"

Postby jrogers » Thu Sep 03, 2015 7:58 am UTC

cellocgw wrote:
groszdani wrote:"Do you spend a lot of time in the sun?"

English is not my mother tongue. Does this mean what I think it means?


Probably not. "in" != "inside" in this context.

Statistician gripe: it's impossible for us to come up with random words, even selecting from the words we know. THere are two many subconscious and conscious biases for us to choose randomly.

But I bet I wasn't the only one who included 'correct horse battery staple.'

I was surprised that none of the fastest 5 animal names I came up with was a bird, seeing as I"m an avid birder. That must mean something :-) .


I loved the "on a scale of 1 to 5 which is your favorite number?" Talk about self-contradictory referencing!


I used "type five random words now." There was nothing about "fastest animals." The request was "Name the first five animals you can think of." If you were trying to think of the five fastest animals, they should have all been birds, since the top seven are birds according to Wikipedia.


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