Saturday, March 8, 2008

This Blog's Writing is a Dude

With great ambivalence I report that my writing reveals me to be male, albeit sometimes a weak one, according to the analytical algorithm underpinning The Gender Guesser:

In 2003, a team of researchers from the Illinois Institute of Technology and Bar-Ilan University in Israel (Shlomo Argamon, Moshe Koppel, Jonathan Fine, and Anat Rachel Shimoni) developed a method to estimate gender from word usage. Their paper described a Bayesian network where weighted word frequencies and parts of speech could be used to estimate the gender of an author.
I threw in several more or less random passages from my blog and it came up consistently male, in both the 'formal' and 'informal' panel, and 'weak male' in a few cases.

To be honest I find this result disappointing. It creates no tension or self-doubt; it wouldn't kick off a serviceable episode of a sit-com; it fails to spice things up. I am male in so-called real life and male in writing. How boring.

Update: Oh good! I'm coming up more consistently female in The Gender Genie, even though it supposedly uses the same algorithm. There's hope for this sit-com yet.

2 comments:

George Junior said...

Prompted by your post, I just used the Gender Guesser and got a Male result for informal writing and a Weak Male for formal writing.

The latter result was accompanied by the statement: "Weak emphasis could indicate European."

I never realized "European" was a separate gender. Though, come to think of it...

Dale said...

Hmm. Good point, George Junior. I wouldn't have considered "European" a gender, either, but it does raise some interesting possibilities and maybe answer some questions.