Table of Contents

Alan Schwartz: Mud Research & Methods


This lecture took place on September 24th, 1996.

The LegendMUD Lecture Series is about to begin! Join us tonight with Javelin aka Alan Schwartz of the Jounral of Mud Research in the Auditorium in the OOC.


'BTW, quite enjoyed the JOMR,' Ptah says to Javelin.

McDougan says, 'What's JOMR????'

'Thanks!' Javelin says to Ptah. 'Hopefully we'll have enough submissions to get the second issue out in time.'

'The subject of our lecture,' Mitra says to McDougan.

Sabella cheers wildly!

Javelin says to McDougan, 'Journal of MUD Research.'

'I haven't been able to think of anything scholarly enough to submit, though,' Ptah says to Javelin.

'The Journal of Mud Research.. it's wonderful,' Sabella says.

'What academic disciplines?' Mitra says to Javelin. 'Sociology and so forth?'

Ptah says to Javelin, 'Bartle's article was fascinating, and we're using some of the concepts in the design of UO.'

'If you have an idea, email me about it,' Javelin says to Ptah. 'I might be able to help you spin it.'

Ptah says to Javelin, 'The best things I can contribute are unfortunately verboten because of my job :(.'

'Social science or technical,' Javelin says. 'Reid's a referee, I can't discuss who's submitted things, I'm afraid.'

Mitra nods her agreement with Javelin.

McDougan likes to come here to seem intelligent, which he is, don't you try to deny it, but not on muds. He's a genius real life! STOP THAT LAUGHING!

Crystaline giggles at McDougan.

'I think you're intelligent, you just can't express yourself properly in text yet. :),' Shalindra says to McDougan.

McDougan shrugs helplessly.

Kaedon tickles Bulk.

Ptah says, with a regretful sigh, to Javelin, 'Most of my recent mud work has been theoretical engine design, AI, simulation layers, that sort of thing, and it's all now proprietary for Origin.'

Bulk comforts Ptah.

Mitra sighs loudly.

Sabella says, 'OK, Javelin's ready to begin. Please remember...'

Bulk says, 'Keep emotes down?'

Mitra says, 'No emotes.'

'No snakes on people's laps?' Shalindra says.

Sabella says, 'OOC stands for out-of-character :) keep emotes and says down, and be polite.'

Mitra says, 'No talking please.'

'If we lag, emotes will make it even worse,' Mitra says.

Sabella says, 'Javelin will ask for questions when he's ready for them, I believe.'

Javelin says, 'Yeah - my client's not made for lp/diku's and puts a blank line between everything everyone says/does. :).'

Sabella shakes Javelin's hand. 'Try typing BLANK and see if it helps,' Ptah says to Javelin.

Sabella sits down and rests on a chair.

'Thank you,' Javelin says. 'Blank off helps some. Good evening (in my timezone at least). Thanks for inviting me.'

'I wanted to start with a question that I'm interested in,' Javelin says. 'Do you think that MUDs compete with one another?'

'Yeah!' Shalindra says.

Agrippa says, 'Sure do.'

Mitra says, 'Depends.'

Javelin says, 'To raise a hand, "tell" me that you are. :).'

'Yup,' Rummy says.

'I guesss,' McDougan says. '*shrug.'

'Of course,' Bulk says.

'Yes they do,' Crystaline says to Javelin.

Shalindra says, 'Muds are about what's fun, what the player likes, hard mobs, good eq... unfortunately most people don't care for good writing.'

'Is this competing for players or what?' you say to Javelin. 'It'd make a difference in how I'd answer.'

'Ok, the consensus seems to be that they do,' Javelin says. 'They might compete for players, for sites, for capable administrators, etc.'

Javelin says, 'More to the point of my lecture, though, is this question: If you believe that muds compete with one another for some kind of resource, how could you be sure?'

'The good news is that you probably could find out by studying muds and their players,' Javelin says. 'The bad news is that many people who try to do this have an excellent understanding of muds but a superficial understanding of research, or vice versa.'

Javelin says, 'I'm sure you've seen my pet peeve - surveys on usenet newsgroups.'

Sabella nods her agreement with Javelin.

'Tonight I want to discuss three ways to use muds in research, and three types of research using muds. ,' Javelin says.

'The first use of muds is to compare them to other contexts,' Javelin says. 'You see a lot of surveys like this - are mudders less social than nonmudders?' you said that.

'While these results are often intriguing, I actually believe they are the least interesting,' Javelin says. 'Of course mud interaction differs from face-to-face interaction in some ways, and is similar in others.'

Javelin says, 'Moreover, a disproportionate number of these studies focus on muds that are *not* games (for example, LambdaMOO), and ignore the vast majority of muds on the net - muds which are not only social, but also offer other goals.'

'Recreation, after all, is a fundamental human activity, on- or off-line. :),' Javelin says.

Javelin says, 'The second approach to mud research addresses those questions directly, by comparing muds with muds, rather than real life, or focusing on mud-specific issues.'

'The article by Richard Bartle in the Journal of MUD Research's first issue is an excellent example,' Javelin says. 'He's interested in different playing styles among mud players on adventure muds.'

'And makes strong and testable predictions about how a mud's mix of players will change over time,' Javelin says.

'But "real life" has its place,' Javelin says. 'In "real life", I'm mudding right now. And as a mudder, I'm still using my "real life" mind - memory, attention, etc.'

'Some researchers have used muds to investigate cognitive processes,' Javelin says. 'A great advantage of muds is that most everything can be controlled.'

'For example, Diane Schiano, an experimental psychologist, has studied mental maps that mud players make and how they learn to navigate around the mud,' Javelin says. 'This is much cheaper than building giant mazes. :).'

Myriad giggles.

Javelin notes, however, that Schiano studied LambdaMOO, which is not a very spatially connected place. I suggested to her that an adventure mud would be much more appropriate - how many of you have maps, and how many think ssseseen? :)

Shalindra thinks.

Sabella smiles at Javelin.

Mitra says, 'I used to have maps.'

'Repetition then memorization,' Shalindra says.

'A little of both,' Sabella says.

Myriad has a cognitive map.

Red1Guest says, 'I just wander about aimlessly...'

'I navigate with a mental map- I always thougtht mapping and the hunt command was silly,' McDougan says, shocked silly.

Siachet needed paper maps at first, but now has cognitive maps.

McDougan says, 'Paper mapping for the second.'

Bulk wanders about, unless there is a simple safe route that he uses often.

Shalindra says, 'I learned my way around using hunt then just from repetition from hunting all over. :).'

Shalindra could draw a map based on location of a certain area, in relation to others.

Kaige points out that we cheat here... points to a real world globe.

Red1Guest says, 'Actually I use cognative maps along with some speed walks..'

Bulk couldnt. Gets east/west confused, but that's an RL problem.

'Right,' Javelin says. 'For example, if I asked you how to get from X to Y, you could tell me. But could you tell me that it's "roughtly northwest"? Could you draw a map? Could you "point" that way? These are fascinating questions -- and very relevant.'

Deanna nods her agreement with Javelin.

'These then are my three categories of approaches: mud vs,' Javelin says. 'Rl, muds themselves, and muds as windows onto RL phenomena.'

'Doing valid mud research requires thinking about these approaches - the content of the study,' Javelin says. 'But also attention to the *method* of the study.'

'Survey methods are popular, probably because people think they are easy,' Javelin says. 'Post a questionnaire, collect responses, tabulate them. In fact, conducting a *valid* survey is probably one of the most difficult things to do.'

Javelin says, 'In most surveys, the appropriate strategy is to make a so-called 'sampling frame', the list of everyone who's worth surveying, and then randomly choose people from this list.'

'For example, if you want to survey anybody with a phone, you can pick up the phone and dial random digits (there are some problems with this too, yes, but it's pretty close to a random sample of phone owners),' Javelin says.

'Now, how to get a list of all mudders?' Javelin says.

'Usenet surveys implicitly sample newsgroup readers,' Javelin says. 'Does anybody here want to argue that newsgroup-reading and non-newsgroup-reading mudders are likely to be similar? I'd guess that newsgroups have a much higher proportion of mud admins.'

'Most admin I know read the news,' Javelin says.

'But we can't be sure, and that's the problem - the sample is biased in an unknown way,' Javelin says.

Myriad ponders representativeness problems of actual population.

'A much more likely approach would be to survey players within a single mud,' Javelin says. 'It's still hard to get the less active players to participate, but you *could* get a list of all players (at least, an imm could).'

'Or random muds,' Red1Guest says.

'Right, Red1guest,' Javelin says. 'That's called cluster sampling. At least, random public muds; private muds don't advertise.'

Javelin says, 'And Myriad makes an important point about generalizing -- you can't assume that these surveys will generalize beyond their respondents to people at large, or possibly even mudders at large.'

'Private muds?' Red1Guest says. 'Why would anyone want a private mud?'

Shalindra says, 'Friends only.'

Shalindra says, 'Or to keep the population of undesirable people down.'

'There are also a mud or two devoted to group counseling,' Javelin says to Red1Guest.

Bulk says, 'Sort of a clique.'

Siachet ponders the trade-off between internal and external validity.

'Like people who log on and chat obscenities,' Shalindra says. Ptah says, 'There are many muds that are private for organizational reasons (therapy, education, etc), cliques, or merely exclusivity (character registration and approval).'

Shalindra nods her agreement with Ptah.

Sabella could use her home computer to run an rpg just for friends, even.. it's capable of that.

Ptah notes that THIS mud is actually three muds, but players only have access to one.

Shalindra giggles.

'Three muds?' Shalindra says to Ptah.

Bulk ponders Ptah's existence.

Ptah says, 'Immort testmud, player mud, and a meeting site for downtime.'

'BTW, for those who haven't heard those terms, internal validity is how well the study measures its variables as it defines them, without confounding influences that aren't under control,' Javelin says. 'External validity is how well the study's variables correspond to real world things of interest,' Javelin says.

'Are there any muds dedicated to discussion between mud developers?' Red1Guest says.

McDougan says, 'ConspiracyMUD.'

Ptah says, 'Yes, there are, Red1Guest.'

Javelin says, 'Qum?'

'These are the same problems that exist with any form of sociological sampling, that you can't be sure that any sample extends beyond the boundaries of the sample,' Qum says. 'How do muds differ in this problem?'

'Good point, Qum - MUDs don't differ,' Javelin says. 'And little of the survey research seems to recognize that; research that would never be given a glance if it were on a "real" population is often accepted on MUD populations.'

'Internal and external validity usually trade off,' Javelin says. 'Consider a different research method: the experiment.'

Javelin says, 'In an experiment, you try to control as many variables as you can, manipulate your variable of interest and observe the result.'

Siachet smiles happily.

'While that kind of control is very hard to achieve on muds, it's not impossible,' Javelin says. 'Ralph Melton conducted an experiment on his mud (Castle D'Image). New players were randomly either placed on all chat channels, or denied use of any chat channels.'

'Cool,' Myriad says.

Agrippa ponders being a guinea pig.

'Yikes!' McDougan says. 'That's a bit nasty, really.'

'Over the next month, he measured who those new players talked to, to see if players with access to chat channels had broader communication patterns apart from the channels,' Javelin says.

'Wow, you folks are one step ahead of me,' Javelin says. 'Melton was very careful about how he treated his participants - he got their explicit consent to participate, and they could withdraw whenever they wanted.'

'His research was approved by the committee for protection of human subjects at his university, like any conducted at the university should be,' Javelin says.

'Ah!!!!!' McDougan says.

Myriad nods solemnly.

Javelin says, 'I personally have grave doubts that much of the popular MUD research has been approved, and this disturbs me.'

'What about subjects who are under 18 that give consent to participate isnt that problematic?' Myriad says.

Bulk is, just for the record, over 18.

'Yes - most Committees would require parental approval, but it depends to some degree on the study. Minors (in the US) are a "vulnerable population."' Javelin says.

'I'm not sure what happens when your participants could come from places outside the US where the age of majority is younger, though,' Javelin says. system

Javelin says, 'At the other extreme (high external validity and low internal validity), we have the final, and quite popular, research method.'

'Namely, participant-observation,' Javelin says. 'Log in, hang out on a mud, and record your observations.'

Javelin says, 'Very popular with journalists, who aren't doing scientific research, and anthropologists, who are.'

Javelin says, 'Interesting things have been observed this way, and it's useful for generating theories, but, like any qualitative research strategy, it's difficult to use observation to test theories.'

'I'm going to wrap up now, and leave you with this thought,' Javelin says. 'I think there's a wealth of interesting things going on which we can see on or with muds. Political science, organizational behavior, psychology, sociology, anthropology, linguistics -- each has something to contribute to and each can learn things from MUD research.'

Siachet smiles happily.

Myriad raises a hand.

'And literary theory, thanks, Mitra. :),' Javelin says.

Mitra giggles.

Sabella giggles.

'Let me stop there for q&a, but answer one right now,' Javelin says. 'Journal of MUD Research is at'

Sabella applauds Javelin's quick thinking and good judgment.

You smile at him.

Mitra applauds Javelin's quick thinking and good judgment.

Shalindra beams at Javelin delightedly.

Ptah applauds Javelin's quick thinking and good judgment.

Kaedon applauds Javelin's quick thinking and good judgment.

You clap for him approvingly.

Siachet claps for Javelin approvingly.

Qum shows his approval by clapping his hands together.

Javelin says, 'Thanks. :).'

Javelin bows deeply.



'What type of research do you do..of the three you mentioned?' Myriad says to Javelin.

'In my real life, I'm studying cognitive psychology and organizational behavior,' Javelin says. 'Because I'm wary of treatment of human subjects, my MUD research so far has been looking at how the numbe of MUDs on the net grows and shrinks...'

Myriad nods solemnly.

Myriad says, 'Is the journal peer reviewed?'

'But I'm working on a human subjects proposal to study perceptions of competition on muds, hence my starting question,' Javelin says. 'Yes, the journal is peer reviewed.'

Myriad nods solemnly.

Mitra nods solemnly.

'Competiton on all the levels you mentioned earlier?' you say to Javelin. 'Or any specific area? .'

'Yes, Kaige, on all those levels,' Javelin says. 'My work with mud populations suggests that having more muds around actually helps the muds survive longer, rather than hurting them (which competition might predict).'

Kaige nods in agreement with Javelin.

Sabella raises her hand.

Kaige says to Javelin, 'More people to meet.'

Kaige chuckles politely.

'My question was about competition too... especially in the "do muds differ idea"' Sabella says.

Sabella would see muds more like books, which compete for players/readers only within genres and thus differ a lot outside of those genres

Sabella says to Javelin, 'How similar would you really say muds are?'

'That's certainly possible,' Javelin says. '"Type" of mud is hard to pin down, but seems relevant. I've been on a fair number of Dikumuds that felt to me just like my old Sejnet haunt -- and others which are totally different.'

Sabella nods solemnly.

'And diku to lp too?' Sabella says. 'Or does that matter?'

'The same goes for roleplaying MUSHes (I've spent some time around the Dune ones),' Javelin says. 'I imagine that there are more than enough Perns out there.'

'These are empirical questions which remain to be asked (and answered!) If I run my study soon, I'll be happy to let you know how it comes out,' Javelin says.

Siachet raises her hand.

Siachet says to Javelin, 'Does particiapant observation raise similar ethical dilemmas to controlled experimentation?'

'Very interesting question,' Javelin says. 'The ethical guidelines for American anthropologists are somewhat different than those for American psychologists; for example, an anthropologist might not reveal herself as a researcher under some conditions.'

Mitra looks up into the sky and ponders.

Mitra raises her hand

Siachet nods solemnly.

'There's a double anonymity with muds too.. names are already changed,' Sabella says.

Qum raises a hand.

'Mitra, then Qum,' Javelin says.

'A) the pern mushes all have sublte differences,' Mitra says.

Mitra says, 'They really do vary greatly.'

'In terms of population, rp, and so forth,' Mitra says.

'And how they deal with the original novels,' Mitra says.

Javelin nods his agreement with Mitra.

Mitra says, 'B) am i right to guess that our anthropoligists would have a much harder time keeping track of their discrete subjects?'

Mitra says, 'Identity is much trickier on muds.'

Mitra raises an eyebrow inquiringly.

'Or am i being redudant?' Mitra says.

'Indeed, that's been the subject of a recent book by Sherry Turkle,' Javelin says. 'CErtainly there are muds where people change their names daily -- and where it'd be quite hard to know who was who.'

'I'm not sure it woudl even matter, depdning on how one conducted the study,' Mitra says.

'One would need to redfine the "subject"' Mitra says.

Javelin says, 'I agree - and think that kind of consideration and planning is essential to conducting good MUD research.'

Siachet ponders whether the subject is the character or the player.

Sabella nods her agreement with Siachet.

Mitra nods solemnly.

Javelin says, 'Qum.'

Qum needs to remember to put the ' in front of his question ... :/

'Have you done a broad enough survey of the LARGE number of muds out there to be able to categorize them into more specific slots (i.e., adventure, therapy, technical discussion, then subcategories)?' Qum says. '(a).'

Qum says, 'Then (b) do you have a rough breakdown by % and finally (c) only vaguely related, how do therapy and discussion muds differ in "culture" from irc chat groups?'

'Personally, no, though I tend to think of 5 categories: adventure, roleplaying, social, educational, professional,' Javelin says. 'Judging from mudlists, adventure is most, followed by social.'

'Good question... i like discussion on muds better than chat boards, and dunno why :),' Sabella says to Qum.

Javelin says, 'I've never compared social muds and IRC but I think that would be interesting -- I much prefer to have a 'room' around me.'

Qum says, 'Hmmm, a survey by type and country might prove interesting.'

Mitra nods her agreement with Sabella.

Sabella nods her agreement with Javelin.

Mitra says, 'And a culture.'

Mitra says, 'I think that makes a big difference.'

'It's more "real"' Sabella says.

Myriad cant wait to design a mud research study.

Javelin says, 'Other questions or comments?'

Sabella raises her hand again.

Javelin winks suggestively at Sabella.

'I think i need to read the journal before i have more :),' Mitra says to Javelin.

Sabella smiles at Javelin.

Mitra is sure that there are many issues she could ask about it.

'I'm still interested in more research on genders and muds and gender-swapping.. what directions would you like to see still in that area?' Sabella says.

Densiva smiles at Sabella.

Shalindra giggles.

'Or gay/bi rp id's,' Mitra says.

Densiva nods his agreement with Sabella.

'I see rl straights do the bi thing all the time,' Mitra says.

Shalindra beams at Mitra delightedly.

Sabella nods her agreement with Mitra.

Javelin says, 'Most of the research in that area, it seems to me, has been largely ethnographic and often of the 'ohmygosh' variety. :).'

Sabella giggles.

Myriad giggles.

'The ann landers kind,' Mitra says.

Siachet giggles at Javelin.

Mitra wrinkles her nose distastefully.

Sabella nods solemnly.

Leila chuckles politely.

Mitra says to Javelin, 'Public perception of muds is a whole diff area.'

Mitra lives in fear that her students will find out she muds.

Shalindra cackles gleefully at Mitra - whatever she's going to do to her, glad it's not you!

Sabella giggles at Mitra.

Leila giggles at Mitra.

Myriad hopes she doesnt meet any of her students on muds either.

Mitra chuckles politely.

'I came up with a procedure some time ago to estimate the proportion of people who are actually gender-swapping on a MUD - after all, many people don't want to answer a direct question,' Javelin says.

Siachet is terrified of that too.

Densiva giggles at Myriad.

'I'd be intersted in that,' Mitra says to Javelin.

Sabella volunteers that info and lets everyone look at her like they're crazy.

'Me too,' Sabella says.

Mitra says to Javelin, 'Er in reading it if you've had it published.'

'It kinda seems that more men than women gender switch. :),' Shalindra says. 'I meant, are willing to share it,' Mitra says to Javelin.

Sabella nods her agreement with Shalindra.

'The same applies to any private RL variable - sexual orientation, etc,'

Javelin says. 'Oh, it's based on a survey research trick. I haven't applied it, but I'd like to see someone do it.'

'Many female chars are men,' Mitra says.

Myriad says, 'But more men than women mud too no?'

Javelin says, 'It's a bit mathematical, so I'll explain afterward.'

'That's interesting in and of itself, really...' Sabella says.

Mitra nods solemnly.

Siachet nods her agreement with Myriad.

Mitra says, 'Right....'

Mitra says, 'So it's tricky to compare.'

Shalindra says, 'I'd put it about halfway, unless half the women I know are really men.'

'Oh, half the women I know on here ARE men,' Shalindra says.

Qum raises a hand.

Shalindra bonks herself on the head and looks sheepish.

'In any case, there's plenty of bad work and some good that's been done on gender-swapping, and I haven't seen anything myself on sexual orientation,' Javelin says.

Mitra nods solemnly.

Sabella nods solemnly.

Sabella has a gender anthropology professor who's willing to supervise, but who has never seen a mud :)

'Have you looked at cross cultural differences between mud distributions?' Qum says. 'For example, the differences between german/u.s. muds? or is there a difference?'

Siachet smiles at Sabella.

'Unfortunately, the mudlist data I could get were 1991-1993 (when Scott Goehring published his list almost weekly); all the current mudlists don't archive their old lists, they just write over them,' Javelin says.

'During that time period, there weren't enough non-US muds from any one country except perhaps UK to make a comparison with any statistical power,' Javelin says.

Myriad nods solemnly.

'But it would be a simple procedure now to split up a mudlist by mud type and country and see if there are differences (using a chi-squared test, for the statheads. :),' Javelin says.

'Technology vs culture vs psychology,' Qum says. 'Interesting to look at the different approaches asians, europeans, and americans approach muds.'

Siachet grins evilly at Myriad.. wonder what she's thinking...

'If you can dream the questions that interest you, you can, with sufficient ingenuity, study them,' Javelin says.

'"Simple" only if you have the time :),' Qum says.

Javelin . o O (and a heck of a lot of hard work, of course :)

Myriad says, 'Do you have a current master mud list divided into those categories that you would share with other researchers?'

Myriad grins evilly.

Siachet giggles at Myriad.

'No - I have my 1991-1993 lists, which are categorized by server type, not game type (which, especially now, are become less correlated),' Javelin says. 'But you could go download the Mud connector list and start there.'

Mitra says, 'Isn't there a daemon's list?'

Myriad ponders getting a NIMH grant to mud :P

Siachet drools contentedly.

Sabella nods her agreement with Myriad.

'In fact, Amberyl (Lydia Leong) has gotten the occasional grant to run a workshop on education muds here and there. :),' Javelin says.

Densiva giggles at Myriad.

'Yep, myriad. tell them you want to study the effect of muds on our youth :),' Qum says.

'I'd like to open a mud for "field trips" for middle school students,' Sabella says.

Sabella is really tempted to write up a grant for it... legend's got the right base idea, historical/literary

Myriad nods her agreement with Sabella.

Siachet nods her agreement with Sabella.

'Multimedia approaches to education is big,' Myriad says.

Sabella nods her agreement with Myriad.

'It would also be a target for hackers and people who wanted to shock your students. you would need to restrict access...' Qum says.

Sabella nods her agreement with Qum.

Sabella says to Qum, 'Actually i'd restrict to the class doing the field trip... they're studying ireland, get an irish guest lecturer and update the Irish area.'

'I think it's probably my dinnertime now, but I'll stay to explain the survey trick, and I'm happy to discuss research stuff with anyone anytime,' Javelin says. 'You can reach me at'

Sabella says, 'Not really socialization... all set up in advance...'

Mitra thanks Javelin heartily.

Sabella smiles at Javelin.

Sabella thanks Javelin heartily.

Leila smiles at Javelin.

Sabella is totally fascinated by mud research :).

Siachet smiles happily.

'This was fun, btw,' Javelin says. 'Thanks. You have very interesting ideas. I hope you run with them.'

Myriad nods her agreement with Sabella.

Mitra smiles at Javelin.

Siachet nods her agreement with Sabella.

Myriad smiles at Javelin.

Myriad claps for Javelin approvingly.

Shalindra beams at Javelin delightedly.

Kaige thanks Javelin heartily.

Siachet thanks Javelin heartily.

Javelin smiles happily. Qum claps for Javelin approvingly.


Jav's quick course on:
How to make it less threatening for people
to answer threatening survey questions

Javelin says, 'Ask each person to flip a coin.'

Javelin says, 'If the coin lands heads, they answer the question honestly.'

Shalindra says, 'How're you supposed to flip a coin on a mud?'

Javelin says, 'If the coin lands tails, they answer randomly (by flipping the coin again, heads = yes, tails = no).'

Shalindra grins evilly.

Mitra giggles.

'They flip it in RL - they *don't* tell you how the coin came out,' Javelin says.

Shalindra nods solemnly.

Shalindra says, 'Ah.'

'That means that when you receive an answer from someone, you have no idea if it's really a true answer or not,' Javelin says.

'So, your first presumption is that 50% of your answers are true, and 50% of the rest are correct answers,' Qum says.

'So nobody identifies themself,' Javelin says. 'BUT, you can estimate the proportion of true 'yeses'.'

Sabella nods solemnly.

'You know that 1/4 of the answers should be "no" by chance and 1/4 "yes" by chance,' Javelin says. 'Subtract those out, and take the proportion of yeses out of what remains.'

Javelin says, 'It's noisier than a direct question, but, (if you can get people to understand it), less threatening because no one gives themself away.'

'Alas, if you want to correlate cross-gendering with other things about the person, it's not so useful,' Javelin says. 'But wouldn't you like to know just how much cross-gendering (or whatever) goes one -- more than just the stories?'

Sabella nods her agreement with Javelin.

'Yeah, i would really,' Sabella says.

'If people are willing to identify their char's gender, you can figure out if men and women cross-gender more or less often than each other, etc,' Javelin says. 'Anyway, that's my cheap trick. Hope you find it useful somewhere. :).'

Sabella beams at Javelin delightedly.

Mitra nods solemnly.

'Let's run a survey here :),' Mitra says to Sabella.

Sabella nods her agreement with Mitra.

Mitra says to Sabella, 'I bet we can owrk out some pr handle to justify it.'

Mitra giggles.

'Soon as i'm done with the player type one :),' Sabella says to Mitra.

'G'night folks,' Javelin says. 'I've had a great time.'

Mitra waves good-bye to Javelin.

Kaige thanks Javelin heartily.

Shalindra waves good-bye to Javelin.

Javelin waves happily.

'Thank you so much for coming,' Sabella says to Javelin.

Siachet waves good-bye to Javelin.

Javelin thanks his lucky stars for just being alive!

Leila waves good-bye to Javelin.

Sabella waves happily.

Mitra thanks Javelin heartily.

Candide waves good-bye to Javelin.

Candide thanks Javelin heartily.

Kaedon thanks Javelin heartily.

Javelin giggles.

Leila giggles at Javelin.

Javelin vanishes.

Kaedon grins evilly.

Sabella giggles.

'Nice guy,' Mitra says.

Sabella nods her agreement with Mitra.

Shalindra sticks her tongue out at Mitra. =P

Javelin says, 'Wow, you sure make it hard to quit around here. :).'

Javelin returns to being In Character.

'Oops,' Sabella says.

Shalindra sticks her tongue out at Kaedon. =P

'Oops,' Mitra says.

Siachet giggles.

Leila giggles.

Mitra says, 'I thought he was gone.'

Mitra giggles.

Mitra rolls around on the ground with laughter.

Shalindra throws her head back and cackles with insane glee!

'Tricky with emotes he is,' Kaige says.

Sabella giggles.