11 Percent Of Americans Think HTML Is an STD

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11 Percent Of Americans Think HTML Is an STD

Dumb and Dumber screen

A new study has found that one in ten Americans think that HTML is something you can catch by having unprotected sex.

We live in a fast-paced, high-tech world, and according to 61 percent of respondents in a recent Vouchercloud survey, it's important to have a good understanding of technology in order to keep up with it all. Of course, not everyone is out on the bleeding edge of technology, but 11 percent of people think HTML is a sexually-transmitted disease? Seriously? I can understand not knowing what it means, or even precisely what it is - I would expect that most people don't - but how do you go from "I don't know" to "Hey, baby, I must've picked that up from a toilet seat down at the pub?"

That's not all. 77 percent didn't know that SEO stands for "search engine optimization," which is fair enough, but more than a quarter - 27 percent - think that a gigabyte is an insect commonly found in South America, and 23 percent think MP3 is a Star Wars droid. 18 percent of respondents said Blu-ray is a marine animal, and software? To 15 percent of Americans, it's comfortable clothing.

It's obviously not the most scientific study ever undertaken and some allowances have to be made for people like me, who intentionally give the worst possible answers to casual surveys like this just to throw off the numbers. And hey, lots of folks have absolutely zero interest in anything even remotely technological, and so can't be expected to know things like what a motherboard is. (Pro tip: It's not the deck of a cruise ship.) But then I think back to a previous survey revealing that 25 percent of Americans don't know that the Earth revolves around the Sun, and a part of me thinks we're lucky that this one wasn't any worse.

Stay in school, kids.

Source: LA Times

Permalink

Before I read anything into this, I'd like to see how the study was worded. Because if I was asked "Is there a Star Wars Droid named MP3?" I would possibly answer 'yes' just because for all I know it is. Likewise, for all I know the Blue Ray is indeed a kind of aquatic animal.

With 'ha-ha people are stupid' studies like this, it's really really important to see specifically how the study is conducted and how the questions are worded.

Side note - Looking at the linked article, it appears they were multiple choice questions from an online survey. Which leads of course to the question of 'how many people just half-assed it.' Because I know that if there's one thing I take seriously, it's random online surveys.

Falterfire:
Before I read anything into this, I'd like to see how the study was worded. Because if I was asked "Is there a Star Wars Droid named MP3?" I would possibly answer 'yes' just because for all I know it is. Likewise, for all I know the Blue Ray is indeed a kind of aquatic animal.

With 'ha-ha people are stupid' studies like this, it's really really important to see specifically how the study is conducted and how the questions are worded.

Side note - Looking at the linked article, it appears they were multiple choice questions from an online survey. Which leads of course to the question of 'how many people just half-assed it.' Because I know that if there's one thing I take seriously, it's random online surveys.

I was about to come in here and say this. And just by it's very nature of being a multiple choice thing it means that people that don't know what something is are just going to put down whatever. Honestly, the only way this survey could be remotely meaningful is if all of the questions were free response, but those don't give nearly as shocking headlines.

ohnoitsabear:
Honestly, the only way this survey could be remotely meaningful is if all of the questions were free response, but those don't give nearly as shocking headlines.

I've worked on surveys with free response portions. You get rather a lot of technically unique responses, and a surprising amount of truly unique responses. The problem is categorization; the data is useless if every answer is different.

Alright, what's with the recent trend of X% of Americans are Morons articles lately?

I'm starting to feel picked upon. I know my countrymen and women are not always the best and brightest we so loudly claim to be, but this is still starting to feel a little bit like harassment, Escapist. Just saying.

We have skits on the late night and comedy shows to tell us this already, your assistance is not required.

im pretty sure that must be old people talking

LA Times:
The study involved 2,392 men and women 18 years of age or older.

For the record, 2392 people is approximately 0.000762% of the population of the United States (as of 2012), assuming I haven't misplaced my decimal. Also, I may have missed it but I didn't notice anywhere in the LA Times article where the people polled were located or what their professions were. When anyone writes an article about a poll, it's generally a good idea to note that the answers are only from the people polled and are not representative of any larger population. If you have any intention of being objective, fair, or reasonable, that's kind of the minimum effort and anything less than that is more akin to a tabloid. In addition, a rampant problem in any human study like this is the number people polled which, in a lot of cases, renders the study utterly insignificant.

That said, I wouldn't know that "SEO" stands for search engine optimization, especially if I was just stopped on the street with no context, but I don't work in IT; I work in Biophysics. I would guess that most people don't know what "nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy" is, but doesn't make them stupid, it just means they don't work in the field that I do.

So, now that the serious part is out of the way...how did anyone not know what a gigabyte was? Or were they just trolling the polling? In fact, a fair amount of the answers listed in the link sound like something a troll would cook up.

You mean 11% of an extremely small group that was polled? Why do people take these things seriously again? Also, it has been proven again and again that a pollster can get exactly the answer he wants by just wording the question a certain way. That doesn't apply so much to this poll but just another reason why polls are stupid.

I wouldn't want HTML 5. Thats like Hepatitis B and Herpes Simplex 2 combined!

To everyone who thinks several thousand is a small sample size:

We approve potentially lethal drugs with assays based on less than a fraction of that sample size.

As a biologist, 2000+ is a huge sample size.

I'd be more concerned over the poll itself not how many they polled.

"Next week on the Escapist, a new survey finds that 22 percent of 77 percent of 3 percent of Americans are annoyed about surveys that depict 78 percent of 65 percent of 31 percent of Americans as ignorant. 2 percent of 100 percent of -B percent of this post is mathematically sound."

Sure, you can totally catch HTML by having unprotected sex. Granted, most people prefer to pay their webmasters in money.

The sample size was plenty sufficient, so I don't know what people are getting at with this. Studies like this are annoying actually, because it makes American's look stupid. I'm willing to bet you would get similar answers in any developed nation in the world... and I dare you to poll someone from a developing nation and then sit here and talk about how stupid they are. Also, LA Times as a source... such good journalism comes from that paper. Just like it does from most of the other big papers in America.

11% of people have a sense of humor.

"Don't worry baby, I've been tested for HTML."

I am sorry, but this is stupid. I mean the outcome of the survey if the sun rotates the earth is awfull but this on is stupid.

My Mother is a highly educated woman, still i doubt she would know what HTML5 is, because it simpl is nothing she needs to know in any way.

crepesack :
To everyone who thinks several thousand is a small sample size:

We approve potentially lethal drugs with assays based on less than a fraction of that sample size.

As a biologist, 2000+ is a huge sample size.

I'd be more concerned over the poll itself not how many they polled.

Yes, this. A sample size of 2000 is actually pretty bloody large.

Anyway, yeah. I'm sure none of my grandparents know what HTML or MP3 represent. There's a good chance that they're clueless as to Blu-ray and software too. As a finance student, SEO also stands for Seasoned Equity Offering. It's fun to laugh at Americans, I do it all the time, but these results aren't hugely surprising or offensive.

"HTML. It's serious. Get tested now." *insert Ad Council end title card*
"XML. It might happen to you."
"JavaScript. Don't drink coffee and write papers at the same time, it creates a host of problems."
"GNutella. Firearms are not to be smeared in hazelnut spread. This has been a public service announcement."

So on and so forth. This is fun!

I just did a quick little math thing and a sample size of 2000 is about 4% of my city's population. I live in a rather small city in Southern California, so population is a bit condensed but the city has an area of like 6 square miles. It really is a drop in the bucket.

Caiphus:

crepesack :
To everyone who thinks several thousand is a small sample size:

We approve potentially lethal drugs with assays based on less than a fraction of that sample size.

As a biologist, 2000+ is a huge sample size.

I'd be more concerned over the poll itself not how many they polled.

Yes, this. A sample size of 2000 is actually pretty bloody large.

Anyway, yeah. I'm sure none of my grandparents know what HTML or MP3 represent. There's a good chance that they're clueless as to Blu-ray and software too. As a finance student, SEO also stands for Seasoned Equity Offering. It's fun to laugh at Americans, I do it all the time, but these results aren't hugely surprising or offensive.

7

The big issue here is the claim that a 2000 sample, well still large does not represent the entire U.S. of A. The article just says that to make people click on it. It really should include the word polled to make it clearer. What would also be nice is where the sample is coming from. Is it coming from 50+? Or 40+? How about mostly in the age group of 18-25? What is the basic background of these people? Do they work in Businesses? Retail? Construction? This is important information that seems to be missing that could help give more concrete answers. Also its a coupon website. I mean I do not trust how accurate that information is. Also there is a marine animal called the Neoraja caerulea, a.k.a the Blue Ray. Also I would have said SEO stood for Sony Entrainment Online.

Yes, we get it, we Americans are a country of stupid fat people and we should feel ashamed. Let's keep spending time conducting these polls so we can keep reconfirming to the world that Americans are stupid and keep posting pointless articles about it on the internet. Better throw in a picture from Dumb and Dumber to further make your point. Keep up the good work Escapist!

Actually, the most shocking thing about this poll (for me at least) is how unshocking it is. So 11% of the population doesn't know what HTML is? Big deal. Not everybody is interested in technology, or at least how it works under the hood. If you don't deal with web development in your daily life why would this knowledge be useful or relevant?

In fact when you take the elderly into account, it's kinda amazing that 89% percent of the population could correctly identify that HTML is a web coding language. And this is all assuming that 100% of the people answering the poll were actually being genuine.

I'm appalled. Not by the results themselves, but how the media is using bullshit like this as blatant click bait. You can't seriously expect me to believe that a multiple choice questionnaire from a fucking coupon website counts as a legitimate survey in any way.

I don't believe this for a second; I can accept some cultural ignorance (since we all have it to varying degrees) or perhaps a slightly self-important world view, but to boldly state that there are 30million+ thinking people in the US that think HTML is a sex disease is fucking bollocks of the highest order.

they mustve meant DHTML. cause thats some pretty dynamic html scripting to become an STD.

Gordon_4:
I don't believe this for a second; I can accept some cultural ignorance (since we all have it to varying degrees) or perhaps a slightly self-important world view, but to boldly state that there are 30million+ thinking people in the US that think HTML is a sex disease is fucking bollocks of the highest order.

It would have been due to the multiple choice format of the survey. Or, I'm assuming it was multiple choice, because mistaking HTML for a sexually transmitted disease is a very specific, weird, wrong answer. There's a good chance that the survey looked like this:

Is HTML:

- A programming language*

- An International standard of measurement

- A US Army Protocol

- A sexually transmitted disease

And, naturally, people got it wrong.

*Is it actually considered a programming language? I have no idea if I'm using the correct nomenclature.

Edit: A quick google search suggests that it is indeed a markup language, not a programming language, whatever the distinction is.

To be fair I wouldn't have gotten the 'SEO' one either.

But not knowing what a gigabyte or MP3 is...

USA sensationalism shines again, "Oh boy people don't know this highly specific technical abbreviation they probably never came across in their life? Hah! How dumb are they..."
Might want to take a minute for introspection when you go to such lengths just to feel above someone else.

1: This survey deals mostly with under the hood technical stuff (I have no need to know what HTML and SEO are) and terms that are interchangeable with others (I know no one that doesn't call software "programs").

2: This is coming from a bloody coupon site. Let that sink in for a minute, we're taking studies from coupon sites as fact now. Also, it means that the demographics the respondents are taken from is limited (for example, "who knows about/uses this site?" probably cuts out a lot of people).

3: Last I checked the internet is an international clubhouse. I also checked and Vouchercloud (the coupon site) deals in coupons for internet stores like Amazon. So why are we calling those surveyed "Americans"? Only the LA Times called them that (presumably as clickbait), while Vouchercloud (properly) called them "respondents".

Can someone make a poll in the general board with the same question. Bet you a dollar the percentage of funny people saying it's an STD is higher than 10%.

Caiphus:
A quick google search suggests that it is indeed a markup language, not a programming language, whatever the distinction is.

Markup is a style guide or a list of instructions for drawing something, programming produces a piece of software that uses inputs and outputs to transform data.

Basically programming = "if temperature > 65 degrees then set fan = on" whereas markup = "background = blue, text = black, text here = centre justified, font 11, picture here".

OT: I've poisoned the well on a few surveys like this before where I felt like taking the piss.

ForumSafari:
produces a piece of software

You mean it makes comfortable clothing???

Gasp.

I kid, I kid :P. Thanks for taking the time out to let me know in such a polite way. That was very informative.

Mylinkay Asdara:
Alright, what's with the recent trend of X% of Americans are Morons articles lately?

I'm starting to feel picked upon. I know my countrymen and women are not always the best and brightest we so loudly claim to be, but this is still starting to feel a little bit like harassment, Escapist. Just saying.

We have skits on the late night and comedy shows to tell us this already, your assistance is not required.

I would go so far as to say that a larger percentage of you than of other countries are in fact demonstrably stupid. But it's like when a game gets censored in Australia and I don't think "Fuck, everyone must see us as oversensitive prude old people", I just get to have a laugh/sigh at the stupid views of my countrymen safe in the knowledge I am not one of them. We know not all Americans are morons, and we even pity you for having to live with the ones that are.

computers are my hobby and while i wouldnt go as far as expert, i consider myself quite knowledgeable in it. And i didntk new SEO acronym either. Nothing spectacular about that one.

Also considering there is aquatic animal called RAY there may easily be a confusion that it was merely a species nicnamed blue (easy to misread from BLU) for its skin colour or something.

I could not found any disease listing that would involve HTML or similar though, google was not cooperative.

Scy Anide:

LA Times:
The study involved 2,392 men and women 18 years of age or older.

Clive Howlitzer:
You mean 11% of an extremely small group that was polled?

Malconvoker:
a sample size of 2000 is about 4% of my city's population.

ah, not this again. sigh.
http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm

Assuming US population is a round 300 million (and we ignore that they ignored <18 years old, which would actually be in thier favour), with 2392 we get:
95% confidence interval - which means that there is 5% chaance that you get nonsense - perfectly standart for surveys of this type
Confidence level of 2%, which means that the results wary +- 2% in reality. Which means that in reality "with 95% confidence we can state that from 9 to 13 percent of americans think HTML is an STD", but thats not a news title you wnat to read now is it.

Either way, it IS a viable population sample provided and enough to make these conclusions. Heck, with 99% confidence interval we would still get a confidence level of 2.64%, which would only put it to 8.36% to 13.64% americans.....
And 99% is something only used for very precise studies anyway.

the nubmers work out, the sample size is acceptable. in fact world statistic organizations claim that 2000 is the line from which US can be tested with enough confidence.

Baresark:
Studies like this are annoying actually, because it makes American's look stupid. I'm willing to bet you would get similar answers in any developed nation in the world...

the previous study escapist reported on (didnt bother copying the link for now), if you looked at the actual study, they also pooped western european nations. The results were similar, although slightly less "omg thats stupid" answers, but still plenty to make similar headlines. Its just that Escapist is American website so they report on the american part.

Mr.K.:
USA sensationalism shines again, "Oh boy people don't know this highly specific technical abbreviation they probably never came across in their life? Hah! How dumb are they..."
Might want to take a minute for introspection when you go to such lengths just to feel above someone else.

Because MP3 and Gigabyte is highly technical abrevations right? In fact anyone that passed math in highschool would get that gigabyte is a measure of something just from the name even if they dont know what it actually is.

kael013:
1: This survey deals mostly with under the hood technical stuff (I have no need to know what HTML and SEO are) and terms that are interchangeable with others (I know no one that doesn't call software "programs").

Well, i heard software called multitude of ways:
programs
games
applications
apps
drivers
ect
those are all software.
the problem of ten is when software and hardware is mixed up. like people complain their software broke down when thier HDD fell apart.

crepesack :
To everyone who thinks several thousand is a small sample size:

We approve potentially lethal drugs with assays based on less than a fraction of that sample size.

As a biologist, 2000+ is a huge sample size.

I'd be more concerned over the poll itself not how many they polled.

thats irrelevant, i took a statistics class, theres actually a formula for coming up with optimal sample sizes, all according to a confidence level and a margin of error

to make things simple, lets use this sample calculator

http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm

lets set the confidence level to 95%, a margin of error of say, 2.5%, a US population of 317638000, according to wikipedia

and the magic number for sample size we get is... 1537

actually less than the sample size this study used, so it SEEMS this study used a more than appropiate sample size

Strazdas:
computers are my hobby and while i wouldnt go as far as expert, i consider myself quite knowledgeable in it. And i didntk new SEO acronym either. Nothing spectacular about that one.

Also considering there is aquatic animal called RAY there may easily be a confusion that it was merely a species nicnamed blue (easy to misread from BLU) for its skin colour or something.

I could not found any disease listing that would involve HTML or similar though, google was not cooperative.

Scy Anide:

LA Times:
The study involved 2,392 men and women 18 years of age or older.

Clive Howlitzer:
You mean 11% of an extremely small group that was polled?

Malconvoker:
a sample size of 2000 is about 4% of my city's population.

ah, not this again. sigh.
http://www.surveysystem.com/sscalc.htm

Assuming US population is a round 300 million (and we ignore that they ignored <18 years old, which would actually be in thier favour), with 2392 we get:
95% confidence interval - which means that there is 5% chaance that you get nonsense - perfectly standart for surveys of this type
Confidence level of 2%, which means that the results wary +- 2% in reality. Which means that in reality "with 95% confidence we can state that from 9 to 13 percent of americans think HTML is an STD", but thats not a news title you wnat to read now is it.

Either way, it IS a viable population sample provided and enough to make these conclusions. Heck, with 99% confidence interval we would still get a confidence level of 2.64%, which would only put it to 8.36% to 13.64% americans.....
And 99% is something only used for very precise studies anyway.

the nubmers work out, the sample size is acceptable. in fact world statistic organizations claim that 2000 is the line from which US can be tested with enough confidence.

Baresark:
Studies like this are annoying actually, because it makes American's look stupid. I'm willing to bet you would get similar answers in any developed nation in the world...

the previous study escapist reported on (didnt bother copying the link for now), if you looked at the actual study, they also pooped western european nations. The results were similar, although slightly less "omg thats stupid" answers, but still plenty to make similar headlines. Its just that Escapist is American website so they report on the american part.

Mr.K.:
USA sensationalism shines again, "Oh boy people don't know this highly specific technical abbreviation they probably never came across in their life? Hah! How dumb are they..."
Might want to take a minute for introspection when you go to such lengths just to feel above someone else.

Because MP3 and Gigabyte is highly technical abrevations right? In fact anyone that passed math in highschool would get that gigabyte is a measure of something just from the name even if they dont know what it actually is.

kael013:
1: This survey deals mostly with under the hood technical stuff (I have no need to know what HTML and SEO are) and terms that are interchangeable with others (I know no one that doesn't call software "programs").

Well, i heard software called multitude of ways:
programs
games
applications
apps
drivers
ect
those are all software.
the problem of ten is when software and hardware is mixed up. like people complain their software broke down when thier HDD fell apart.

what are you doing? it was my turn to be smart

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