11 Percent Of Americans Think HTML Is an STD

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"what does ths 'html://www' mean that i have to type before every internet address?" i thought a long time ago, when you still had to do that. So i scanned several search engines and it was probably lycos who found me the answer.

I have seen the html tag several times here and there but it is rarely explained as hyper text markup language. Anyone remember when you last saw that mouthful instead of "html".

Now, 'www' might be rather self explanatory by comparison. I hear mentions of the world wide web being called that here and there and after a year or so my brain would eventually be able to connect that to the www.

Blu ray was the useless gimmicky bullshit that tried to bridge the gap until we have 4k TVs and a new medium to watch movies on that? *ponder*

I got Software and Hardware explained about 20 years ago. Old people like me still use those words while those who still smell like the living use "Computers" and "apps".

I saw some of those "People are stupid" surveys as a video where you could see the time of day shifting several times between cuts, so i suspect they ran around to find the one moron amongst thousands.

Sometimes i wonder why they wont just pay some people a few bucks to act stupid.

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.

Pretty sure that if these surveys were about the french, UK, Spanish or what have you, then there wouldn't be so much noise. Do you really feel so hard done by a web site and its forums? Thin skin there.

now that i think of it, these people probably mistook HTML for HIV

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 was thinking the same thing, for some reason these surveys seem really popular in the US over the last couple of years. If you do these surveys anywhere around the world you would get people making mistakes, sure some nations might be better at certain types of question but they would be worse at others.

Well, at least it's not PHP. God help you when you catch that. Better to just put you down right away.

So one in ten people aren't au fait with the technical terminology of webpages? Seems about right? Far fewer people know how their car works in detail I'd warrant. All these Yanks are stupid articles seem a bit rich.

CrazyBlaze:
The big issue here is the claim that a 2000 sample, well still large does not represent the entire U.S. of A.

That depends on the purpose, and (as you mentioned) who they polled. In fact, who they polled (and how they worded it) is far more important than the sample size, as long as the sample size is 'big enough' for the purpose.

.

In fact, I've noticed that some people mistakenly believe that a proper sample size has to be a certain percentage of the population being sampled. That is NOT true. The increase in reliability in statistics is subject to harsh diminishing returns once you go beyond a certain sample size. In fact, the amount of possible answers is more important to determining how important a sample size needs to be (a simple yes/no question needs a lower sample size than a question with 8 different answers, unless those answers are point-based and you're just trying to compute the average amount of points given). If you sample 5000 people out of a population of 30 million, you don't need to sample 50000 people if the population is 300 million to get as reliable results.

While I have no idea what the survey looked like, I'm guessing that "11% of Americans that didn't know what HTML is chose STD when presented with multiple possible answers" would be a more accurate headline.

Not as snappy headline or click-baity though.

If you asked the same people straight up "what is HTML?" I'd be surprised if 11% answered STD. It's just that multiple choice data is a lot easier to deal with.

I wouldn't worry America, there are plenty of people in other countries that don't even know how to copy and paste let alone anything else. Trust me I have to deal with these people for a living.

Strazdas:
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.

There is even a species of ray known as the Blue Ray.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoraja_caerulea

CriticalMiss:

Strazdas:
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.

There is even a species of ray known as the Blue Ray.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoraja_caerulea

Oh, i didnt even saw that due to google assuming i was searching for blu-ray even when i specifically told to ignore that phrase. thank you for pointing this out.

MeChaNiZ3D:

I would go so far as to say that a larger percentage of you than of other countries are in fact demonstrably stupid.

And you would be wrong. If we go by average I.Q. (intelligence does not correlate with knowing specific details about any subject matter) the United States ranks 19th, tied with France, Denmark, Norway, Mongolia and low and behold, Australia. Just above us is Poland, Spain and Hungary and just below is Canada, Czech Republic and Finland.

I.Q. and the Wealth of Nations is my source for the above rankings. But if you feel that Americans are more "demonstrably stupid" than other nations, I'll be happy to read your research. Which journal are you publishing your findings in again?

I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

Strazdas:

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

Some days I'd swear that you and I were the same person. I'm not developing multiple personalities again, am I?

Anyway, found this. Will leave it here:

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

One of the most useful classes I took in college was Statistics.

Thirty samples is enough to produce useful information.

The more samples you pull, the finer you can refine the population curve.

While the polling was a bit biased (18+ in L.A.), it does provide useful information regarding the population in that demographic.

Not really surprising. 11% of people could quite plausibly be old or just not very aware of how technology works under the hood.

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.

I'll concede that the sample size was statistically valid, despite being an insignificant portion of the entire population; however, the survey is still a gross generalization. The survey only consisted of participants on Vouchercloud, a coupon website. This is not a random sampling.

A quick example (and dramatization) of generalizations like this from Statistics for Dummies (I'm not implying stupidity, that's just the name of the book and website):

Making conclusions about a much broader population than your sample actually represents is one of the biggest no-no's in statistics. This kind of problem is called generalization, and it occurs more often than you might think. People want their results instantly; they don't want to wait for them, so well-planned surveys and experiments take a back seat to instant Web surveys and convenience samples.

For example, a researcher wants to know how cable news channels have influenced the way Americans get their news. He also happens to be a statistics professor at a large research institution and has 1,000 students in his classes. He decides that instead of taking a random sample of Americans, which would be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive, he will just put a question on his final exam to get his students' answers. His data analysis shows that only 5 percent of his students read the newspaper and/or watch network news programs anymore; the rest watch cable news. For his class, the ratio of students who exclusively watch cable news compared to those students who don't is 20 to 1. The professor reports this and sends out a press release about it. The cable news channels pick up on it and the next day are reporting, "Americans choose cable news channels over newspapers and network news by a 20-to-1 margin!"

Do you see what's wrong with this picture? The problem is that the professor's conclusions go way beyond his study, which is wrong. He used the students in his statistics class to obtain the data that serves as the basis for his entire report and the resulting headline. Yet the professor reports the results about all Americans. It's safe to say that a sample of 1,000 college students taking a statistics class at the same time at the same college doesn't represent a cross section of America.

If the professor wants to make conclusions in the end about America, he has to select a random sample of Americans to take his survey. If he uses 1,000 students from his class, then his conclusions can be made only about that class and no one else.

To avoid or detect generalization, identify the population that you're intending to make conclusions about and make sure the selected sample represents that population. If the sample represents a smaller group within that population, then the conclusions have to be downsized in scope also.

I wouldn't consider sampling from any one website to be a valid random sample. In addition, I still think a lot of the answers were troll answers, which can be another issue with polls or surveys, especially online ones. It's also possible that the generalization is a result of the LA Times picking it up.

Somethingfake:

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.

Pretty sure that if these surveys were about the french, UK, Spanish or what have you, then there wouldn't be so much noise. Do you really feel so hard done by a web site and its forums? Thin skin there.

Uh dude/dudette? I'm not American and I'm certainly not offended by these surveys.

A survey stating that the frogs suck *would* definitely be alright with me though....

More like 240 out of 2400, not 1 in 10 out of 319 million people. ><

Gorrath:

MeChaNiZ3D:

I would go so far as to say that a larger percentage of you than of other countries are in fact demonstrably stupid.

And you would be wrong. If we go by average I.Q. (intelligence does not correlate with knowing specific details about any subject matter) the United States ranks 19th, tied with France, Denmark, Norway, Mongolia and low and behold, Australia. Just above us is Poland, Spain and Hungary and just below is Canada, Czech Republic and Finland.

I.Q. and the Wealth of Nations is my source for the above rankings. But if you feel that Americans are more "demonstrably stupid" than other nations, I'll be happy to read your research. Which journal are you publishing your findings in again?

You are on the internet. Demonstrably stupid in this sense was used to mean commonly demonstrated to be stupid. I'm not suggesting Americans are generally stupider than any other country, I am suggesting that some, regardless of the rest, are incredibly stupid compared to other first world countries. An opinion that I've formed over years of seeing some Americans do stupid things and hold stupid views. I'm not suggesting a hypothesis, I'm voicing an opinion.

How come we never hear about surveys taken in other countries? Either I just never see them or people just love to try to make America look as stupid as possible
Anyway:
I'm not really surprised about the outcome of this, terms like HTML isn't exactly something the average person on the street knows about/cares about

NuclearKangaroo:

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

sorry, i ninjad you

Madman123456:
"what does ths 'html://www' mean that i have to type before every internet address?" i thought a long time ago, when you still had to do that. So i scanned several search engines and it was probably lycos who found me the answer.

I have seen the html tag several times here and there but it is rarely explained as hyper text markup language. Anyone remember when you last saw that mouthful instead of "html".
<...>
Sometimes i wonder why they wont just pay some people a few bucks to act stupid.

you never had to type that. the typing was actually http://www, which stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. this is jut one of the protocols, for example another popular was FTP (file transferp rotocol), which would go like FTP://www...

Oh and you never had to type it, the browsers would automatically assume http when not specified. well unless were talking the infancy of internet period.

HTML on the other hand is a programming language that is one among meny, which when it was popular would often be seen in websites ending in .html. now most websites create thier links more sly than that as awell as use many different languages. HTML 5 on the other hand is quite new and fancy and its actually meant to voershoot every other web language out there, and its actually better, but its hard for everyone to drop what thier doing and relearn new language.

we have a show here called "question". its basically catching these stupid people with stupid answers deal. they actually offer you money for saying something stupid, and they act insulted when i refused.

Res Plus:
So one in ten people aren't au fait with the technical terminology of webpages? Seems about right? Far fewer people know how their car works in detail I'd warrant. All these Yanks are stupid articles seem a bit rich.

Theres much more knowledge required to drive a car than to use a computer, and they actually test you before they allow you to have one.

Scy Anide:

I'll concede that the sample size was statistically valid, despite being an insignificant portion of the entire population; however, the survey is still a gross generalization. The survey only consisted of participants on Vouchercloud, a coupon website. This is not a random sampling.

It was a significant portion of the population - hence the significance level i mentioned.
What you mean is not significant, what you mean is large. and then i would agree, it is not a large part of population. And i totally agree that the sampling and question form may very well be invalid, i was merely pointing out that you were incorrect about the sample size, as people keep trying to do every time such survey comes out instead of attaching the real problem - sampling and wording.

MeChaNiZ3D:
You are on the internet. Demonstrably stupid in this sense was used to mean commonly demonstrated to be stupid. I'm not suggesting Americans are generally stupider than any other country, I am suggesting that some, regardless of the rest, are incredibly stupid compared to other first world countries. An opinion that I've formed over years of seeing some Americans do stupid things and hold stupid views. I'm not suggesting a hypothesis, I'm voicing an opinion.

Well, there are interesting statistics when you star talking about these "Few very loud examples". For example children dieing in car during summer because their mothers "forgot" them inside and locked and left is around 13 per year in USA. So they wanted to compare it to EU and found that in EU that statistic would amount to 0 per year. there were no such cases found. So while the general population may be on part, there is quite a few very stupid individuals around.

cryogeist:
How come we never hear about surveys taken in other countries? Either I just never see them or people just love to try to make America look as stupid as possible

we did. the previuos survey escapist reported on also conducted research in western europe. its just that Escapist is american website so they report on american part.

Why escapist, why? I am an american. I'm just trying to get by and have a reasoned discourse on various subjects with people such as strazdas, zachary amaranth, shrekfan, and so on.

I am a casual gamer and a call of duty fan. I feel generalized enough without having to also feel bad for being an american. I get it, I'm stupid because things. Would you stop?

MeChaNiZ3D:

Gorrath:

MeChaNiZ3D:

I would go so far as to say that a larger percentage of you than of other countries are in fact demonstrably stupid.

And you would be wrong. If we go by average I.Q. (intelligence does not correlate with knowing specific details about any subject matter) the United States ranks 19th, tied with France, Denmark, Norway, Mongolia and low and behold, Australia. Just above us is Poland, Spain and Hungary and just below is Canada, Czech Republic and Finland.

I.Q. and the Wealth of Nations is my source for the above rankings. But if you feel that Americans are more "demonstrably stupid" than other nations, I'll be happy to read your research. Which journal are you publishing your findings in again?

You are on the internet.

Thanks for clearing that up, I got lost there for a minute.

Demonstrably stupid in this sense was used to mean commonly demonstrated to be stupid. I'm not suggesting Americans are generally stupider than any other country, I am suggesting that some, regardless of the rest, are incredibly stupid compared to other first world countries. An opinion that I've formed over years of seeing some Americans do stupid things and hold stupid views. I'm not suggesting a hypothesis, I'm voicing an opinion.

So the "fact" that larger percentage of Americans are demonstrably stupider than other countries is just your opinion and it does not mean that Americans are generally stupider than other countries. What I presume you mean is, you've seen some really stupid Americans and are now engaging in a sort of confirmation bias. You see some article or opinion regarding an American and use it to reinforce the idea that there are some percentage of really, super, extra, extra dumb Americans that outweighs the really, super, extra, extra dumb people from Australia, or some other first world place and people.

I realize my tone might seem like a bunch of condescending snark, but I find it hard to take your opinion seriously when you shift from "going so far to say it is a fact", to "this is just my opinion", especially when said opinion is based on personal anecdotes and what appears to be confirmation bias.

Might I be so bold with you as to recommend a change in philosophy on this subject? Would it be terribly rude of me to suggest that you should reconsider this opinion based on what seems to be the flimsiest of evidence and fallacy? I do not desire to incite your anger, only to change your mind.

Gorrath:
snip

It probably is part confirmation bias and part the America-centric element of the internet when sharing studies, but when I say in fact, I am not referring to facts. I have not shifted anywhere. It was always an opinion, phrased pretentiously for comedic effect. An opinion which I don't expect you to take seriously.

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.

In the same sort of way I can just imagine it being multiple choice and not allowing the people to choose "I don't know" so they are forced to guess some absurd answer rather than just say they are unsure.

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.

Agreed. I can't determine what's worse, though, that this has become blatant sneering or that there are perfectly reasonable explanations for these "survey" results (not to mention the surveys themselves) that could only have been ignored.

I found it interesting the American census states that, as of 2011, 1 in 4 households didn't have a computer, yet only 1 in 10 people in this survey have a goofy answer for HTML (something many computer users don't understand).

Many of us take technology for granted. We've grown up with it, work with it if not see these words every day, and if we want to look something up we have the Internet under our fingertips. It's pretty easy to look down on tech-ignorant people when you are, in all likelihood, a nerd working in a nerd-central industry writing nerd web articles for other nerds to read and discuss with each other.

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